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Ooswell Strett; 





Notes and Observations on Book 1 5 

« =.===..»^ — Book II 95 







VOL. Til. 




Line 4 Voyage.'] One of the reviewers of this 
translation objected to making voyage a dissylla- 
ble ; but tlie reader will find it is always so used 
by Milton. He will also see many examples to 
the same purpose in Dyer's ' Fleece :' indeed, ety- 
mology as well as euphony requires this pronuncia- 

5. Colchos] The region to which the voyage of 
the Argonauts was directed, is known to modern 
geography by the name of Mingrelia ; and was a 
part of Asiatic Scythia, lying between the Euxine 
sea and Iberia. It was bounded on the north by 
part of Sarraatia ; on the west, by so much of the 
Euxine sea as extends from the nioutli of the river 
Corax to that of the river Pheisis ; on the south, 
by partof Cappadocia; and on the east, by Iberia. 

6. Rocks.] ' When Argo pass'd — through Bos- 
porus, betwixt the justling rocks.' (Milton's Par. 
Lost, book ii. 1. 1017.) These were two rocks, at 
the entrance of the Euxine sea, called Symplegades 


by the Greeks; by Juvenal, concurrentia saxa. 
They seemed to open and shut, or (as Milton ex- 
presses it) to justle one against the other, with a 
sort of elastic collision. They were also called 
Cyanean, from their dark hue. Olivier speaks of 
the Cyanean rocks, as they appear at this day : 
* Here there is a hard rock of trap, of a greenish 
blue coloured with copper. Hence, the name of 
Cyanean islands. These islands were also called 
Symplegades, because they appeared united or 
joined together, according to the place whence 
they were viewed.' 

20. Anaurus.] A stream of Thessaly, according 
to Apollonius, Callimachus,and others. Some are 
of opinion, that it is a general name for any 

59. Orphens.] The poet properly begins with 
Orpheus, the most sacred and illustrious personage 
of this noble band. There were different bards of 
the name of Orpheus. The poem on the Argo- 
iiautic expedition, which is ascribed to Orpheus, 
is said to be the production of Onomacritus, an 
Athenian writer, wlio flourished about the time of 
the sixtieth Olympiad. (See Vossius de Poetis 

39. Parent-tmisc.'] There may be something 
allegorical in the story, that the Muse became 
enamoured of a Thracian, and produced Orpheus, 
the first of poets ; to signify the union of genius 
and science, for the production of poetry and 
music. For the tribe of Thracians, called Pseo- 
nians, who lived on the banks of the Hebrus, were 
supposed to be as excellent in science, as the peo- 
ple of Greece were in poetry and music. ' Orpheus 


(says the scholiast) is reported by Asclepiades to 
have been the son of Apollo and Calliope.' Others 
make liini the son of iEagnis and Polynmia. The 
reason why the Argonauts were desirous to engage 
in their expedition a person like Orpheus, who 
excelled more in sinL^nv, than in fighting, was that 
Chiron had foretold that they must fall victims to 
the alltn'ements of the Sirens, unless they engaged 
Orpheus to accompany them. Pherecydes asserts, 
that Philammon, not Orpheus, was the poet who 
sailed with the Argonauts. The ')nomacritns, to 
whom the Argonaulics, yet leniaining under the 
name of Orpheus, arc ascribed as their true author, 
was one of the most considerable dealers in hterary 
forgery that we find niCntioned in history. He 
was a great favourite with Hipparchus, who, in 
conjunction with his brother Hippias, succeeded 
Pisistratus in the tyranny of Athens; but, being 
caught in the fact of interpolating the oracles of 
Musaeus, Hipparchus not only dismissed him his 
court, but banished him from Athens. 

41. Pimple's.] A district of Pieria, wliere was 
a fountain and village : — a mountain of Thrace, 
accoxling to others. 

(")0. Larissa's icall.] The Larissa here mentioned 
was a city of Thessaly. It took its name from 
Larissa, the daughter of Pelasgus. There were 
three cities which bore this appellation. The 
most ancient was in the territoi-y of Argos; the 
second in the Pelasgic part of Thessaly, which 
Homer calls argissa, near Gyrione; a third near 
Troy, which is also mentioned by Homer. — Greek 

00. Polijphemu.s.] This Polyphemus, the son of 


Elatus, is not to be confounded with Poljrphemus 
the Cyclops, the son of Neptune. See an account 
of his tate in the fourth book. 

63. Lapithce.] They obtained this name from 
L»apithes, the son of Apollo and the nymph Stilbe. 
— Gr- Scho. 

6;j. Yet still the' undaunted fire.'] Virgil seems 
to have had the original of this passage in view, 
Mn. ix. — Nee tarda senectus debilitat vires animi 
nmtatque vigorenu 

68. Iphiclus.'] He was the son of Phylacus, and 
Clymene, the daughter of Minyas. Hesiod says 
of him, that he could run over unbending ears of 
com ; and Demarctus, that he could run on the 
surface of the sea. Pherecydes agrees Avith Apol- 
lonius, in asserting that Alcimede, the mother of 
Jason, was the daughter of Phylacus ; but Hero- 
dotus says, that the mother of Jason was the 
daughter of Autolycus, and named Polypheme. 
Andron, in his ' Epitome of Kindreds,' says, that 
Tlieognete, the daughter of Laodicus, was the 
mother of this hero. — Gr. Scho. 

6''J. Alive to fame.] In the passage of the original, 
some editors read K»)^(^, others Kf^®-. I have 
preferred the latter reading ; as the former would 
be perfect tautology, after the word immediately 
preceding TTrjocuv?!, which has nearly the same sense 
as Kn^(^. 

87 Gyrton.] A city of Thessaly or Peraebia. It 
was so called, from Gyrton, the daughter of Phle- 
gyas. It may seem to be rather tiresome to crowd 
so many hues w ith a naked enumeration of persons 
and places; and, in truth, it is no easy task for a 
translator to bring them into verse ^ but Apollonius 


is SO vahmble as an antiqiuiiian and a mythologist, 
tlmt I have endeavoured to give his entire sense 
and matter with scrupulous exactness. Gyrton 
was a rity of the Peiasgians, in Thessalia, It was 
founded by Phlegyas, an ancient lawgiver of the 

90. Katvfa.] Ovid (Met. xii.) imitates this pas- 
sage : 

Obrutus hnmanl cumnlo, sub pojtdere Ccr.neus 
JEstuat arboreo, 4c. 

affvtKl^j imperfossus ab icte, as it is rendered )3y 

101. Mopsus.] Mythographical writers speak of 
three personages of the name of Mopsus. One 
was the son of Apollo, and Manto, the daughter of 
Tnesias. The .second (and lie it was who accom- 
panied the Argonauts) was the son of Titaron and 
Chioiis; though others say he is called Titaresian, 
from a river of a corresponding name in Thessaly. 
A third person of this name was the son of Ampy- 
cus, whence he is called Ampycides. — See Ovid's 

Met. viii. ver. 316, 350. Hesiod Scu. Herac. 1. 181 . 

speaks of Titaresian Mopsus. 

106. Xcnias.] A lake of Thessaly. According 

to others, it was a city, situated along the side of 

tile lake Baebeis. 

108. The father's nume.l Ctimene, a city of 

Thessaly. It was called J>olopeis tise Dolopian, 

from the Dolopesj one of the tribes of Tiiessaly. 

— Gr. Scho. 

129. As the gay seats.} Julius Scaliger attacks 

this passage of the original, as though the poet had 


said, that Lybia was as distant from Colchis as th(» 
middle of the earth frorj tlie east and west; but 
the poet is not to be understood Isere as attempting 
to speak with strict gfogi'aphical precision. He 
employs these expressions to denote, by a poetical 
amplilication, a very great distance in general. — 
Ox. Editor. 

132. JEchalia.'] The later writers place iEchalia 
in tiie island of Euboca. Homer makes it part of 
Pelasgic Argos. — Gr. Scho. 

139. From JEgina^^'cl They had killed Phocus, 
their brother, and fled on that account. It appears, 
that even chieftains and princes were snbject to be 
arraigned and punished for the crime of nunder; 
a crime, which the imperfect stata of society, as 
is evident from the Iiistory of those times, must 
have rendered very frequent. See also the Mosaic 
law, which appointed cities of refuge. 

1.53. Theseim.] Tiiis hero, bythe help of Pirithous, 
liis friend, had carried off Helen from the temple 
of Diana. In return for this service, he agreed 
to assist liis companion in a similar enterprise ; an 
attempt to carry off Proserpine, v.ife of Aidoneus, 
king of the Molossi; or of Pluto, according to tlie 
fabulous accounts. Pluto, having discovered tlieir 
design, exposed Pirithous to the dog Cerberus, 
who devoured him, and chained Theseus to the 
mountain Ttenarn?. Thus Virgil speaks of the 
punishment of Theseus : Sedct etevnumqne sedebit 
infelix Theseus.- lEnekX vi. 617. The truth of the 
account is, that both Theseus and Pirithous were 
cast into prison, from whence Hercules delivered 

r,oTi::s ON BOOK r. i.> 

169. Akctor's son.] I'he true reading is Alecto- 
rides. For Armis, tiic son of Arestor, precede^] 
the Argonauts by eight or nine generations. 

181. Pero.] She was the daughter of Neleus, by 
Ciiloris, the dauiihter of Amphion. Iphiclus had 
seized on tlie oxen of Tyro, tiie mother of Neleus. 
Pero, the daugliter of Neieus, vas pronr:ise(i in 
marriage to tiie person who should recover these 
oxen from Iphiclus. Melampus undertook the 
task ; but, being vanquished, was thrown into 
prison. — Gr. Sc!io. 

183. 7tlelampus.] The old scholiast gives the 
pedigree of this iiero. Melampus was the son of 
Amythaon, tiie son of Cretlieus, the son of iliolus, 
the son of Hellen, the son of Jupiter and Dorippe. 
The cause of his being called Meiampus was as 
foliows. His mother, it seems, exposed him in a 
place which was full of trees ; his feet alone were 
unsheltered, and, being scorched by the violent 
heat of the sun, became black. After he grew 
up, as he was peifo;-miDg a sacrifice, a dragon 
attacked his attendant, and killed him. The 
dragon was slain, and buried by ?.Ieiampus ; but 
he preserved and fed the young serpents, wiiich 
used to lick his ears; and thus inspired him with 
t:\e knowledge of divination. By means of this 
knowledge he was extricated from confinement ; 
for in Ills prison he foresaw, that the roof of the 
house of Iphiclus was about to fall in. He coni- 
nmnicatcd this warnmg intelligence to a female 
domestic, and tl.e tamiiy being thus preserved 
from destruction, Iphiclus, thrc u^h gratitude, re- 
fctored jMelanipus to freedom. — (Gr. Scho.) Such, 
•stories deserve attention, as giving a curious pic- 


tuve of the manners and opinions of the heroic 

208. Navplius owed.] This passage is not very 
clear. To make sense of it, we must suppose 
witii Pturnian, in his list of Argonauts prefixed to 
Valerius Flaccus, that there were two persons of 
the name of Nauplius in the same family. He de- 
duces the pedigree thus, as it siiould seem, in con- 
fomiity with the Greek scholiast. 


Neptune, Amymune, 

Naupiius first, 






Nauplius second. 

The younger Nauplius seems to be the person who 
accompanied Jason on his expedition. 

SJ14. The God of day ] Valerius Flaccus, (book 
i. 1. 228) has iuiitated the oii^rinal of this passage. 
Chan.geleon (says the Greek sclioliast i asserts, tiiat 
the true name of tiiis augur was Tliestor, !>ut that 
he obtained lie name of Idmon from n^u, a Greek 
verb wliich signifies ' to know.' Others say, that 


Thestor also sailed with the Argonauts; others 
again, that the augur who accompanied them was 
Amphiaraus. But this Idmou, according to 
Phcrecydes, was the son of Asteria, the daughter 
of Corouis and Apollo ; and Thestor, the father of 
Calchas, (who was thence called Thestorides) was 
the son of Idnion and Laoitlioe. And see Orphei, 
Argonautics, 1. 185. 

218. MtoUan Leda.'] She was called thus, from 
her father The.<pius, the son of Mars and Andro- 
nice, who reigned over iEtolia. The note of the 
Greek scholiast on this passage is worthy of atten- 
tion, as it preserves the names of several authors 
whose works have perished : as Hellanicus, and 
Ibycus, &c. Enmelus says he relates, that Leda 
was really daughter of Glaucus, the son of Sisy-> 
phus, by Pantidiua, with whom he had an amour; 
but, this lady having afterwards married Thespius, 
he was the reputed father of the offspring. Altliaea 
and Leda were sisters. — Theoc. Id. 23. 

'^21. Dear as the pledges.] The word is TnXuyjlS', 
in the original, which is often employed to mark 
the degree of affection merely. Beloved as much 
as the children of old age. 

'23\. jfirene.} A city of Peloponnesus, near 
Pylos. It is commemorated by Homer, who calls 
it the pleasant Arene, as Pylos is called the sandy. 
Pherecydes says, it took its name from Arene, the 
mother of Idas. — Or. Scho. 

i?35. Pencil/ menus.] Ncleus had sons, by his 
wife Chloris, Nestor, Periclymenus,and Chromius. 
By different other women, Taunis, Asterius, 
Lycaon, Ueimacinis, Eurybius, Epileon, Phrasb, 
\ntimenes, and (as Asclepiades says) Alastor. 


The words of the poet arc, At/ohy.aos kch N^jatjC^ 
a/xujuovEs vt'.t^ ii(jL'cv. ' We are twelve valiant sons 
of Neleus.' That Periclymenns wiis the son of 
Nelens is manifest; for the poet says, Nsfo^als 
Xfoi^tvvl: Ils^iKXviJt.ivo-/'lB yifuxov- * Nestor, and 
Chroniius, and PericJymenus, the renowned." — 
He speaks of him also as the descendant of Nep- 
tune, which god was the father of Neieus; and, in 
consideration of his affinity, bestowed on Peiiciy- 
menus the power of assuming various forms. To 
which Euphorion alludes, in the verse — 

' All shapes, like sea-born Proteus, he assiimeti.' 

He was killed by Hercules, in his war with the 
Pylians, under some of his assumed forms. Some 
say he was crushed by a stroke of his club, while 
lie attempted to sting the hero, in the form of a 
wasp or Hornet. Hesiod says, that lie was killed 
by the arrow s of Hercules, under the form of a 
bird, as he imd fixed on the yoke of the horses that 
drew the chariot of the hero. — Gr. Scho. Ovid 
tells us, that he was pierced with an arrow, by 
Hercules, in his assumed form of an eagle. See 
Bletam. book xii. ver. 5o3 ct seq. The poet, in the 
passa^^es to which I refer, makes Nestor give an 
account of the attack made by Hercules on the 

244. Apheidas' happy realm.] Clerus, in the ori- 
ginal. It was the principality or domain of 
Apheidas. There were two persons, says the 
Greek schohast, of the name of Cepheus: the 
one, the son of Aieus, of whom Apollonius speaks ; 
the other, whom Kelianicus mentions, in his book 


on Arcadia. Apheidas was an ancient hero, the 
son of Areas; he reigned in Tegea, a city of 

'J4.5. Ayicceus.] He was the son of Lycurgus and 
Antinoe. The memory of Lycurgus was culti- 
vated, with divine honours, among the Arcadians. 
— Gr. Scho. 

L'52. McEnalian bear.l IMainahiS was a mountain 
and city of Arcadia. It was so called from 
Maenaliis, the sou of Areas, whose father was 

257. Augeas.'] He was but the reputed son of 
Phebus (i^ays the Greek scholiast); and was, in 
reaHty, the offspring of Phorbas, and Hysniine, 
daughter of Neleus. He was reported to be the 
son of Apollo ; because, as it is fabled, rays of 
light, like those of the sun, beamed from his eyes. 
Apollonius has not explained, why Augcas was 
desirous of an interview with yEetes ; but, most 
probably, it was because the Colcliian monarch, 
like himself, claimed to be descended from Phebus. 

'Ido. Pellene.'] This, written with an e, was a 
city of Achais, which was a part of Thessaly. 
Pallene, with an a, was a city of Arcadia. Tliere 
is some doubt among the annotators, whether 
Aiynx.X'^, in the text of this passage, is a word 
of appellation, and signifies a certain district, or 
denotes the beach of the sea. I have chosen the 
latter sense, which seems to be most plausible. 

270. TcBiiarns.'] A promontory of Laconia, so 
called from Tanarus, the son of Neptmie. — Or. 

270. Swift Euphemus.'] The common reading is 
Polyphemus ; but this must evidently be the gloss 


of some confident but unskilful anhotator, who, 
supposing Eupliemus to be an epithet, not a proper 
name, gave Polyphemus as a synonymous term. 
The gloss, as often is the case, becaine a various 
reading, and crept into the text. In the fourth 
Pythian Ode of Pindar many circumstances, re- 
specting this Euphemus, are collected. See here- 
after, in the notes on the fourth Book. 

271. Europafair.'] She was, according to ancient 
fables, the daughter of Tityos, tlie sou of Elare. 
The cause of his punishment was a violent attempt 
which he made on the chastity of Latona. 

275. O'er rapid waters.] Virgil has translated 
this passage, in speaking of Camilla, Mn. vii. ver. 
808, et seq. See too Ovid's Metani. lib. x. This 
passage of ApoUonius is imitated from Homer, 
who, speaking of the mares of Ericthonius, says : 

'Axpov sir av^ifiiKuiv ku^ttov 3«»v aJs KocrcKhuv 
Axfov £7ri f>iy/u.>v^ aX^ iro'Ktoto ^sea-Kov, 

301. Iphiclus — Althea's brother.'} The scholiast, 
on ver. 146 ante, makes Althea and Leda sisters j 
of course, Iphiclus and Leda were brother and 
sister. This is confirmed, by a passage of Theo- 
critus, Idyll, xxii. ver. 2. in which Leda is called 
Ks§*) Sarta^©-. Their mother, says the scholiast, 
was Deidamia. 

313. From Phocis, ^'c] The Phocians took their 
name from Phocus, the son of iEacus. The com- 
pilers of genealogies make Iphitus, the son of 
Naubolus and Perinice, the daughter of Hippo- 
machus. Pytho was a city of Phocis, where was 


ilie oracle of Apollo. It had its uame either from 
a Greek verb, signifying * to hear,' or from the 
famous serpent Python. 

319, Hospitable, (Sfc] All the ancient writers 
abound in passages, evincing the extreme venera- 
tion in which the laws of hospitaUty were held in 
the heroic ages. There is a striking agreement 
between these passages, and the accounts which 
modern travellers give of the manners of tlie 
Orientals at this day. 

321. Delphi's shriite.'] Delphi, where was the 
famous shrine and oracle of Apollo, was in Phocis, 
Jason repaired thither to consult the god respecting 
the Argonautic enterprise, and became the guest 
of Iphitus on his way. It is to be observed, that 
Apollonius (as I mentioned before) speaks of two 
persons of the name of Naubolus : the one, father 
of Iphitus ; the other, the fatiier of Cly tonaeus, and 
grandfather of Nauplius. It is no easy matter to 
versify a gazette, or a genealogical table ; yet such 
is the task of the writer who undertakes to trans- 
late one of these ancient catalogues. Antiquarian 
researches and poetiy hand bene conveniunt nee una 
in sede morantur. Vet Homer, Apollonius, Calli- 
machus, and Virgil, wish to reconcile them. 

3'23. Calais and Zetes.'] Different writers (says 
the Greek scholiast) give different accounts of the 
place from whence these brothers took their de- 
parture, to share the Argonautic voyage. Some, 
with whom Apollonius agrees, say they went from 
Thrace. Herodotus asserts they set out from 
Daulis. Duris takes them from the Hyperborean 
regions. Phanodicus says the same thing, in the 
t\\<x book or" hii, Deliacs. — Gr. Scho, 


326. Oriihyia.'] Boreas is reported to have falh 
in love with Orithyia, the dauijhter of ErecUu i 
as lie saw her sporting with the virtiins of Atti> 
on tije banks of Ilissus, a river of that rcyi;.... 
Of this ancient fable of Boreas and Orithyia, 
Milton has made use, in one of iiis minor poems, 
on the death of a fair infant. See also Ovid's 
Metam. lib. vi. 9. Tlie true meaning of the fable 
seems to be, that Orithyia was drowned in a high 
wind, crossing the river IHssns. 

33j. Rified rocks.] "Zapirn^ovivi 'rcrilev), in the 
original. It seems to be doubtfnl, what rock is 
desii^nated by this name. Phevecydes says, it is a 
rock adjoining Mount Hecnuis, in Thrace, to which 
Boreas conveyed Orithyia. Callisthenes says, there 
is a place of the same name, Sarpedonia, in Cilicia. 
Stesichorus makes Sarpedonia an island in the 
Atlantic sea. Chcerilns asserts, (says the sclioliast) 
that Orithyia was carried off as she was gathering 
flowers near the springs of Cephissus. See the 
Gleek scholiast. 

339. From each heel.'] This passage seems to 
have furnislied Milton with the first idea of his 
beautiful description of the angel, in Paradise 
Lost, book V. 1. 277. 

346. Acastus.] Acastus appears, from this pas- 
sage, under an amiable light to the reader ; but the 
latter part of his life, according to the Greek scho- 
liast, did not correspond with this good beginning. 
He married, it seems, Cretheis, or, as some writers 
call her, Hippolita. This Jady fell in love with 
Peleus, and finding him insensible to her amorous 
overtures, accused him to her husband of having 
attempted violence against her. Acastus enticed 


out the unsuspecting Peleus to Mount Pelion, 
under the pretence of conducting him to the 
chase, and contrived to leave him there unarmed, 
that he might be devoured by wild beasts. But 
Mercury, or (as some say) Ciiiron the centaur, 
appearing to him, presented him with a sword 
made by Vulcan, with which he kiiied the wild 
beasts that came to attack him; and, on his return 
to the city, the lady also ; and, as some authors 
relate, her Imsband. — Gr. Scho. 

3o7. 3Ibiyas.] Alciniede, the mother of Jason, 
was the daughter of Clymene, who herself was one 
of the many daughters of Minyas, who was in 
reality th'.- son of Neptune, but nominally son of 
Orchomenus, and Kermippe, the daughter of 
Baeotus. Orchomenus gave his name to a city o. 
Greece; and from ?rlinyas the adventurers took 
the name of Minyje. — Conclusion of the catalogiu-. 

I congratulate the reader, I congratulate myself, 
on our having, at last, waded tliro>ieh the catalogue ; 
a task, notwithstanding the liarmouious and charm- 
ing numbers of Apoilonius, of no small difficulty 
and ennui. It must stnke tiie observation of evei y 
classical reader, tliat the ancient heroic poets had 
such a predilection for catalogues, that it seems as 
if they would have tiiought an epic poem incom- 
plete without one. Homer, the great fatlier and 
leader of the band, has a very minute and parti- 
cular enumeration of the Greek and Trojan forces, 
and their respective leaders. Apoiionius, as we 
see, has his catalogue: and tiie Latin epic poem 

VOL. III. c 


have religiously followed the Greeks in this re- 
spect; as may be seen by turning to the ^Eneid, to 
tiie Thehaid of Statins, and to the Are;onautics of 
Valerius Fiaccus. JMilton (that most diligent and 
judicious imitator of the ancients) has also his 
catalogue of fallen angels, and has contrived, by 
the beauty of numbers, and the force of classical 
allusions, to make it one of the most pleasing pas- 
sages of his poem. Komer's catalogue must be 
?onsideied as the poetical progenitor of all these. 
[t is not surprising, that the catalogue of Homer 
should have been highly agreeable to his country- 
men. The Greeks, when lie wrote, were in that 
state of society, in which men are fond of tradi- 
tions, and attached with an entluisiastic reverence 
to the conservation of pedigrees, and the details 
of genealogy and clanship, .'"subsequent writers 
were led, by the very favourable reception which 
the Homeric minuteness in geography and genea- 
logy experienced, to an imitation in these parti- 
culars ; and we find them, in consequence, abound- 
ing in similar passages. The national vanity of the 
Greeks made them singularly partial to the narra- 
tives which recorded the favourite passages of their 
ancient story, the stems of their ancient families 
and dynasties ; and immortalized the scenes with 
which they were familiar. I tear I have been be- 
trayed into great prolixity and amplification in 
my version of the preceding catalogue ; and at 
the same time I must own, tliat I feel I have not 
succeeded to my wish. But it is difficult, indeed, 
to translate these particular specifications of 
persons and places with any tolerable degree of 


giace and elegance. I liope the candid reader 
\vi'l consider these difficulties, and make ailow- 
anccj accordingly. 

.]70. Pagasa,! A promontory of Rlagnesia, 
which was a part of Tliessaly. It was so called 
from tlie Greek 'sjriywfjt.i, which signifies ' to com- 
pact or put together j' because the ship Argo was 
tiiere compacted or built. All accounts of 
expedition make the Argonauts assemble here. — 
Vid. Strabo, lib. ix. 

372. Stars,] Tiiissimile is new in its application, 
and of uuconmion beauty. The comparing the 
Minyae, who were distuiguished from the crowds 
around them by their stature, beauty, and the 
lustre of their arms, to stars shining through dark 
clouds, is highly illustrative and picturesque. 

403. Phryxus.] The Golden fleece, in quest of 
whica the Argonauts sailed, was supposed to be 
the fleece of the very ram on whose back Phryxus 
and his sister Helle attem.pted to pass the sea, 
which bears the name of tlie latter. While Pinyxus 
was in an agony of grief for the loss of his sister, 
who fell i^ito the sea and was drowned, the ram, 
who, at the moment, was miraculously endowed 
with speech, comforted and assured him, that he 
would convey him safely to Scyihia. On his 
arrival in Colchos, Phryxus sacriliced this ram, 
and presf nted the fleece to /Eetes, the king of 
that country. Such is the connection between 
the adventures of Phryxus, and the grief of Alci- 
mede, for the departure of her son. 


418. Sunk on his couch.} It is scarcely possible 
to do justice to the original, in a translation. It 
is highly natural and affecting. It describes the 
old man, as hiding himself in his bed from the 
light of day, and wrapping up his head in the bed- 
clothes. The word £v1v9ra<r has peculiar force. 
The passage seems to be imitated from Homer's 
Iliad fl, where the sons of Priam surround their 
mournful father — 'o5' tv y^iaa-oKXt ys^at®' EvlwTaj 
jy ;^Xaty»j >t£X.aXi'jUL/btE»<^, &c. 

431. Like a girl.} The simile, in the original, is 
inexpressibly beautiful and tender ; though, perhaps, 
a little too minute and circumstantial. The lan- 
guid flow of the word ^lysXa^Ei, and the introduc- 
tioii of a spondee in the fifth place of the line, 
have a happy effect, (as the Oxford editor re- 
marks) to show the languor and taediura with 
which the unhappy child drags on her cheerless 
and miserable being. We have here one of the 
many examples which show our poet's consum- 
mate skill in versification. 

4o5. Sole tribute.^ All the former interpreters 
(as the Oxford editor observes) seem to have mis- 
taken the sense of the original passage. ' This 
alone — tlie pious act of closing my eyes — (says 
Alcimede) remained to be performed by you : all 
other returns that a grateful child could make for 
the love and tenderness of a parent, I have al- 
ready received, and enjoy from you,' The word 
tsn<T(Tci} here signifies simply ' to have or enjoy.* 
Sometimes (as in Iliad /3, ver. 237) it signifies * to 
acquire :' it is a metaphorical expression, taken 
from the animal economy, for -wecto-w properly sig- 
nifies * to digest.' 


460. Tlwy lire— 'they throb, Sfc ] The passage in 
the original scarce a<lmits of a traiislution. The 
word iK<p\v^cn is expressive of a fnlness accom- 
panied by an endeavour to burst forth. It is a 
metaphor, taken from the bubbling of caldrons 
on the fire, wiien the liquid in them begins to be 
heated. It is derived from (pxvuv- 

469. The goddess.] Diana ; who among the 
Greeks answered to Lucina among the Romans, 
and was supposed to preside over the birth of 

495. Conceal thy ginef, (Sfc] The poet seems, in 
this passage, to have had his eye on the parting 
speech of Hector to Andromache, in which head- 
vises her to remain at home : AX?.' ht otxov. He 
seems to have imitated a passage of the twenty- 
fourth Iliad : 

Virgil has imitated this passage of ApoUonius, in 
the twelfth book of his ;Encid, ver. 72. (Oxford 

5(»1. Thus from his fane.] Virgil has imitated 
this passage, and improved it, by adding several 
picturesque and beautiful circumstances. — ^neid 
iv. 143. 

503. Delos.] Delos is called * the divine,' be» 
cause it was the place of refuge to which Latona 
fled ; and because her children, Apollo and Diana, 
were born there. It was one of the Cyclades ; 
and was also called Ortygia, from the sister of 
JLatona ; or rather because it abounded in quails. 
The fable relates, that this island, on its first ap- 
pearance in tlie sea, floated at random; but be- 

?6 JiOTES 0.\ UOOK. I. 

came fixed at the intercession of the goddess. See 
Callimacltus, in his Hymn to Delos.— Gr. Scho. 

503. C!aros,j A city of Asia Minor, near Colo- 
phon. There was an oracle of Apollo there j and 
Manto, the daughter of Tiresias, was priestess of 
it. It was called Claros, or rather Cleros, because 
Apollo obtained it ' by lot;' that being tiie sense 
of the Greek word. — Gr. Scho. 

516. Diverse borne.] The word, in tlie original, 
is wsicajcXt^oy — ' by herself— separated from 
others.' This signification, it is true, is not found 
in the lexicons ; but it follows fairly from the pri- 
mitive word. Yet, it will be closer to the true 
sense, if we render t!ie expression — ' by herself 
on one side.' And it is thus highly descriptive of 
the true circumstance : for those, who encounter 
a throng and press of people, can only avoid it by 
turning on one side. — Oxford editor. 

5i^5. Acastus.l The reader, who turns to Vale- 
rius Flaccus, and sees how he makes Jason work, 
to bring Acastus along with the Argonauts, and 
from what malignant motives ; will perceive, that 
by an inju'iiciows attempt to improve on his ori- 
ginal, he has materially injured the pathos, the 
morality, and beauty of the narrative. 

53.3. Sister's hand.l This sister of Acastus was 
named Pelopeia. 

537. From questions— forbore.] Either that he 
might not cause any delay, or ratlier that he might 
not lead Acastus and Argus to repent of what they 
had done. 

539. On the furled sails.] We shall find frequent 
occasions of remarking, in tlie progress of this 
work, the distinctly graphic or picturesque man- 


ner of ApoUonius. He never deals in generals, 
or vague descriptions; his iina£;es are new, and, 
at the same time, natural ; strikingly appropriate 
to the subject, the place, the time, and the actors. 
How natural and descriptive is the circumstance 
of the assembled Argonauts, seating themselves 
on the rolled-up sails, and the masts which lay 
near the ship, on the shore of Pagasa^? 

588. Vows on icinding^ shores, Sfc] Phebus was 
worshipped by seafaring men, on the shores, under 
the denomination of E-rroiySW^, from ayiln, ' a 
shore.' He was also known to mariners by the 
names of tix^ciTi^, or E/^/Saatjw.^-, from a Greek 
verb signifying ' to embark ;' as the god, wlio pre- 
.»;ided over embarkations ; under which title he 
was invoked, at the commencement of a voyage. 
He was invoked at the conclusion of voyages, 
under the name of sx/Sao-t®-, as the power who 
presided over debarkations. 

596. Broad roclc.'] Here again is an instance of 
the graphic genius of ApoUonius, and his accurate 
observation of natural images. We actually see 
the Argonauts laying aside their outward gar- 
ments, and depositinij them on a broad flat rock. 
We are present v.ith them ; we share their labours 
The poet, through the whole subsequent descrip- 
tion, is agreeably circumstantial. He paints the 
busy scene in the liveliest colours. 

601. Well-twisted ropes, ^t-.] The passage in the 
text of the original, (as the Oxford editor Justly 
suggests) has hitherto not been understood, or ra- 
ther the text seems to be cornipted. I do not 
understand; (adds he) how ropes, passed inter.nally 


and fastened to the timbers of the ship, could reii 
der them firmer; besides, the word i^utocv seem- 
to intimate, that the ropes were passed, not with- 
in, but without, around the body of the vessel ; 
therefore it should seem, that instead of sv^o^ev 
we should read v/lo^iv. Yet, it must be confessed, 
that Hesy chins interprets (^mwfxoiTa,, ropes in the 
middle of a ship — (Sanctamand.) I think the sense 
may be, that ropes were brought under the keel, 
and passed around tlie ship ; by w hich some of the 
Argonauts held and steadied her, so as to let her 
move gradually on the inclined plane, while others 
pushed her down the descent, which they had dug 
for her, to the sea. Tt is thus that porters uia- 
nage, when they let down large casks into vaults 
and cellars. If we adopt the word IvJo^sv, the 
lines of the text may be translated as follows : 

Weil-lwisted ropes within the ship they pass'd, 
Where pins of iron held the limbers fast : 
The niasts to strengthen, and to hold the sail, 
When beating waves and rushing storms prevail. 

613. Tied to the banks, Sfc] It should seem, 
that the oars were fast tied to the benches, with 
the palm or flat broad part, which is usually out- 
ward, turned inward ; the object of the projec- 
tion a cubit's space, seems to have been, that the 
Argonauts might take hold of these ends of the 
oars, as a kind of handles, in pushing the vessel 
down to the sea. Tliis is a difficult and disagree- 
able task, to turn tlie details of manual labour and 
mechanical operations out of a dead into a living 
language , it is scarcely practicable to make such 
versions intelligible, and, at the same time, to 


avoid their being bald and ludicrous ; and, after 
all, little credit is to be Lad by the labour. 

643. The central place.] All the rest of the places 
at the oars were assigned by lot. Hercules and 
Anoffius were exempted from lot, and piaced to- 
getlier, because they were stronsrer than the rest 
of the crew, and each a match for the other. They 
were placed in tlie centre of the vessel ; because, 
if they had been in either end of the ship, they 
would have given an ui due prevalence of the party 
with whom they rowed, over those in the opposite 
extremity. — See N. of Oxf. edit. 

655. 3Io7'e youthful] Since the deity flourishes 
in perpetual youth, it seems to be, with some pro- 
priety, (,says the Greek scholiast) that the younger 
part of the assembly were pointed out to perform 
these rites. So Homer, Ky^oi/Asv Kftjlrj^a^i^EvJ^avlo. 

657. Bowl.] For the purpose of purilymg the 
hands of the worshippers, previous to the sacri- 

657. Salted cakes.] The composition of meal 
and salt, which was sprinkled on the heads of the 

665. ThoUf whose ir^uence.] Phebus, by excit- 
ing the fears and jealousies of Pelias through his 
oracle, was the prime cause of the Argonautic ex- 
pedition : and by his answers, when consulted by 
Jason, he had promised to be the protector of the 

674. Delos.] In the oiiginalOrtygia. The Greek 
scholiast tells us, that Phanedocus, in his Deliacs ; 
and Nicander, in the third book of his iEtolics, 
assert, that Delos obtained its name of Ortygia 


from a city or district of that name in ^tolia. 
The latter writes thus : 

Tlie colonists. 
That from Titanian Ortygia went. 
Some Epliesus posstss'd, and some that isle 
Before called Delos. To ibe neighbouring seat 
Of Sicily some of the trait) repaired ; , 

Anil sea-girt Delos hence the common name 
Bears of Ortygia j— not as fable feigns, 
From transformation of Asteria fair, 
Latona's sister ; and the title marks 
The region prime, from whence their tribes diverge. — 
Gr. Scho. 

701. Unmix'd.] Pure unmixed wine was used iu 
libations ; as a token of a mind clear from false- 
hood, fraud, or dissimulation. — Eustathius. 

703. The prophet Idmon.] This passage is won- 
derfully affecting, an 1 happily introduced, to ren- 
der the prediction of the safe return of the Argo- 
nauts more striking, by the mixture of grief for 
the untimely fate of the generous Idmon. 

716. Aaia'sJ] Asia was so called, after the mo- 
ther of Prometheus and Atlas. 

717. No sudden, ^c] There is great nobleness 
and dignity, something truly sublime, in the senti- 
ments of Idmon, foreseeing his fate, and embark- 
ing with a certainty of meeting his death. There 
is a strong similitude between this trait in the cha- 
racter of Idmon, and that of Sarpedon, and also 
of Achilles, in Homer. 

7 3B. Deep — revolved.'] The word, in the origi- 
nal, is porphuresken, which comes from porphuru ; 
a kind offish, which is found in the most profound 
depths of the sea. 


747. / swear to thee, &c.] This oath of Idas is 
imitated manifestly from the oath of Achilles, in 
the tJrst Iliad : 

' Now, by this sacred sceptre bear me swear.' 

750, Blore sure protection, ^r.] This vaunting 
and irreverent speech of Idas, (says the scholiast,) 
seems to be imitated from that of the Cyclops in 
the Odyssey : Ovk av syojot®^ ^X^^ aXcta/xsv©- 
'KTE^iootjw.ijy. So Mezentius, iEneid x. ver. 77:i, 

75(5. A mighty bowl] Virgil has imitated this 
passage, in the first ^Eneid, ver. 738. Of Bitias 
lie says — 

Jlle impiger hausit 
Spiiviantan 'patcram, ct pleno se proluil auro. 

760. Idmon reproved.'] It is with peculiar pro- 
priety, that the prophet Idmon is introduced, by 
the poet, as reproving the impious boast of the in- 
temperate and ferocious Idas. Indeed, the atten- 
tion to nature, character, and occasional circum- 
stances, is truly admirable. 

770. The Titans, impious, ^t.] Iphimedia, daugh- 
ter of Triopas, v» ife of Aloeus, had two sons by 
Iveptune, Otus and Ephialtes. They, presuming 
on their strength, attempted to dethrone Jupiter, 
but were slain by Apollo at Naxus, and thrown 
into Tartarus by Pluto, 

7G.J. Londbj rav'd.] XjijeT EviTrla^wv, in the ori- 
ginal. Tiiere is great truth and nature m this sen- 
tence. We find, that angry people inflame them- 
selves more and more. As they talk and scold, 
their wrath appears to acquire impetuosity and 
momentum. Vires acquirit eundo. 

789. The sons ff Orpheus.] Scaliger finds fault 


with the subject of this song, and prefers to it 
that in Valerius Flaccus. By this piece of criti- 
cism, he has betrayed his ignorance of the nature 
of ancient poetry, and of the character of Orpheus, 
who was the author and propounder of a particu- 
lar theory of the Cosmogony, or first formation 
of the universe. The propriety, both of the in- 
troduction of the song, and of the choice of a sub- 
ject, may be easily defended. The occasion of 
the song was a rising quarrel among the Argo- 
nauts, which Orpheus endeavoured to compose by 
the united powers of poetry and music. To this 
it may be added, that a song, the subject of which 
is religion, and which asserts the sovereignty of 
Jove, was very timely and expedient; as one of 
the chiefs of the Argonauts had spoken, in rather 
a blasphemous manner, respecting the divinity. 
It was surely very seasonable, even in an hour of 
festivity, to * vindicate the ways of God to man ;' 
particularly for Orpheus, who to the character of 
bard added that of priest and prophet. Nor were 
the aiiditoi-y of such mean rank as Scaliger would 
intimate, or unworthy of the sublime truths which 
he communicated, or incapable of understanding 
them. He uses the term Viri militares, as if the 
Argonauts were mere illiterate, rude, common 
soldiers ; and the divine band sung in a common 
guard-room. It is to be considered, that they 
were chiefly persons of the most illustrious birth ; 
princes, heroes, and demi-gods. In the Latin poet, 
Orpheus sings on no particular occasion, and to 
no end, but to make the night pass away plea- 
santly ; whereas, in Apollonius, there is a design 
and policy in the song, and it is illustrative of the 


character of Orpheus. It is introduced to calm 
a disagreeable altercation, and it illustrates the 
power of music in a most striking manner. (See 
Warton's Observations on Spenser, vol. i. p. 104.) 
Silius Italicus has imitated this passage in his 
eleventh book, where he represents Teuthras as 
singing and playing on the lyre. See ver. 436. 
And the song of lopas, before Dido and her courtly 
assembly, breathed the same philosophical spirit. 
— ^neid XI. ver. 742. 

Turn canit errantem lunam, sollsqve labores. 

The Orphic songs, which have been preserved to 
us, fully justify the character of seriousness and 
divinity which the poet ascribes to these strains 
in the passage before us. We find, from the dif- 
ferent descriptions of banquets which the an- 
cients have left us, that the style of conversation 
on those occasions was moral and instructive. 

7<J0. Strife.'] So Ovid, Metam. lib. i. ver. 19. Em- 
pedocles taught, (says the scholiast) that all things 
being at first confounded together in Chaos, strife 
and love being sent down, separated and disposed 
them into order; that without them nothing can 
arise to being, or of course perish. Thales made 
water the origin of all things, on the authority of 
the poet, who says — 

And Zeno says, that the chaos of Hesiod was wa- 
ter, which settling and subsiding, mud was pro- 
duced ; which being yet more dried and compact- 
ed, became solid eaith. That, to fertilize and 
make tins pregnant, love was born, to warm and 


cherish it with his fire; heat bein^ of the very 
essence of love. Anaxai-oras, asserting tiiat the 
sun is a mass of red-iiot iron, says, < fiom whence 
all things are produced.' Thence Euripides, who 
was his scholar, calls the sun, x^vauov /3wAov, ' a 
clo<i of gold.' And the same Anaxagoras taught, 
that the nsoon was a broad fiat place, on which, 
he says, the Nemaean Hon fell : (^!>y way, I pre- 
sume, of accounting for the spots of t!ie moon.) — 
See Gr. Scho. 

799. Ophion.} Milton, Paradise Lost, copies this 
passage : 

How the serpent, v.l)om they callVl 
Ophion, with Eurjiionie, the wide 
Eucrcaching, Eve, perhaps, had lirst the rule 
Of" cold Olympus. 

The upper part of Eurynome was the pcifect form 
of a beantifal woman; the lower terminated in tlie 
tail of a fish. 

801. Cold Oliimpus.^ So Milton, Paradise Lost, 
book i. 1. oil. ct seq. 

815. The voice and lyre, &;c.] Milton has imi- 
tated this passage in Paradise Lost, book viii. 1. i. 

821. Of sleep — the tongues, ^-c] It was the cus- 
tom of the ancients, when they were about to re- 
tire to rest, after a sacrifice and banquet, to mix 
the goblet, and offer up the tongues of the victims 
to Mercury ; and to pour tlie wine upon them. 
This may have a meaning, physically apposite to 
the ceremony and the occasion. As Mercury is 
the type of speech, the presiding deity of elo- 
quence, it is natural when sleep approaches, and 
prepares to seal up in silence the lips and still the 


tongues of the assembly, to saciiiice to the god of 
speech, by way of a farewell oliering, the tongue j 
whicli was the organ of that faculty. The sacri- 
tice of the tongues might also be meant, as a mys- 
tic lesson, to remind the guests, that if any thing 
of a secret or confidential nature had been said 
or done at the piecedmg banquet, it should not 
be revealed. Homer, alo, refers to this ancient 
I'ite; and says, rXi'Tcras 6' zv ttv^i ^ccXXov. The 
Greek scholiast quotes an ancient author, whose 
works have been lost, for t!ie historical origin of 
this custom ; aud tells us, tiiat Derichitlas, in his 
Megarics, relates, that Alcathous, the son of Pe- 
lops, having Leen expelled from jMegaree, for the 
murder of Chry-ippus, went to reside in another 
state ; and meeting a furious iion, which had laid 
waste the Megariean territory, and against which 
various persons had been sent out by the sovereign 
of the country, he killed him, and putting the 
tongue in his wallet, returned to Megarae. Other 
persons, who were of the party which had been 
sent aeainst this destructive beast, returned, and 
also claimed the honour of having killed him. On 
this, Aicathous produced his wallet, with the 
tongue of the savage foe, aud convicted them of 
falsehood. The sovereign of the country, having 
offered a sacrifice to the gods on this occasion, 
placed the lion's tongue last of all on the altar. 
And hence the custom of offering up the tongues 
of t'ne victims remained among the Megarensians. 
— Gr. Scho. 

834. The vfsseL'] Valerius Flaccus, in his exor- 
dium, calls the Argo, Futidicam ratem — * the pro- 
phetic vessel.' At line 50j, (where he represents 


Jason as hearing in a vision the vessel Argo nr : 
ing his departure) the poet tells us, that the wood 
which composed the poop of the bhip was vocal. 
and came from tlie prophetic grove of Dodona - 
So Claudian, de Bello Gelico — S. 14. 

Sed cetso monitu Jovis augvre luco 
Arbore prasaga tabulas animasse loquaces. 

The ancient writers, as well historians as poe; 
were full of these wonders. The ass address 
Balaam in scripture. The speech of the horse < 
Achilles, in Homer, is well known. In the jEneiJ, 
tiie myrtles are endowed with speech, and relate 
the tragical fate of Polydorus. 

852. IVith tears, Sfc] So Virgil, lEn. lib. iii. 
ver. 10. 

861. At every stroke 1 The versification, in the 
original passage, is happily expressive of the sound 
of the oars, and of the dasliing and hoarse roaring 
of the waves. 

868. White as the pathway.'] The comparison of 
the white track of the vessel, cutting her way 
through the green sea, to a path through a grassy 
field, is entirely new, and highly illustrative and 
beautiful ! 

869. From the' abodes on high^ ^c] Nothing can 
be more sublime, or nobly imagined, than the 
magnificent picture of superior beings of different 
orders, admiring the stately vessel, the work of 
Pallas, as it sailed along. 

877. Jtonian.^ Some, for Itonis in the original, 


lead Tritonis. Minerva, however, (says the Greek 
scholiast) was called Itonias, or Itonian, fioni a 
temple of a corresponding name, sacred to her, at 
Coronea in BoEotia. Or rather, with more pro- 
priety, where she is represented as presiding over 
an entei-prise of the Thessalian Minyae, tiiis ap- 
pellation may be derived from Ttonia, a place of 
Tisessaly, of which Hecateus makes mention in 
the first book of his history. Armenidas also, in 
his Thebaics, speaks of a son of Amphictyon, 
called Itonus, from whom the town of Thessaly 
in question derived its name ; and Pallas obtained 
the epithet of Itonian. Alexander makes men 
tion of him, in the first book of his Caric monu- 
ments.— (Gr. Scho.) It is observable, that Tri- 
tonis was the reading of Valentine Rotmar, who 
has translated our poet into Latin verse. His 
translation is : 

Mir at (E Tritonis opus stupiiere tiros que. 

879. He whom Phillira.] Suidas, under the head 
of Thessaly, asserts that Cliiron, like the rest of 
the centaurs, was the son of Ixion; but the author 
of the Gigantomachia relates, that Saturn, under 
the assumed form of a horse, had Chiron, hy the 
nymph Phillira, who was the daughter of Oceanus, 
whence he became an Hippo-centaur. The name 
of the wife of Chiron was Chariclo. Chiron is 
introduced, with singular propriety on this occa- 
sion, as being the friend of man, and the most just 
of the centaurs : and also, on account of his par- 
ticular connection with Jason, who learned from 
him the art of medicine; whence he acquired \\h 

VOL. 111. T> 


name of Jason, from a Greek verb which sign. 
fies * to heal.' — Gr. Scho. See Orph. Arg. 37 7, 
where he is called Aix.oio1ccl<^ K^vtocv^ujv. 

886. Achilles.'] The centaur, witii his wife holding 
the young AchiUes in her arras, sliowing him to hi 
father Pelens, and advancing into tiie foam of tli 
sea to take leave of the Argonauts, would affc 
a fine subject for painting. ApoUonins folio 
the poets subsequent to Homer, in saying ll 
Achilles was brought up by Chiron; but Korj. 
fays no sucli thing. H. Stephens has noted tlic 
Greek scholium on this passage, as mutilated or 
corrupted ; which is a great pity, as the learned 
author of these ancient commentaries seems to re- 
fer in it to many writers, whose works are now 
lost: as, for instance, to the second book of the 
Noroi, or * Returas,' of Lysimachus of Alexandria. 
The scholiast seems to intimate, that there wa3 
some difference among writers of credit, respect- 
jng the generally received fable, that Achilles was 
the son of Thetis, a marine deity. 

9<)0. TiscEan cliff's.'} Tisaeum was a promontory 
of Thessaly, or, as others say, of Thesprotia; 
where stood a temple of Diana. Valerius Flac, 
book ii. ver. 7, refers to this passage : 

Templaque Tiseee mergunt obliqt/a Dinner. 

906. lolchos.} A town of Thessaly, near the bay 
pf Pagasae. It is mentioned by Lucan, lib. iii. 
yer. 192. 

911. As flocks, ^c] Homer, in the sculptures 
or paintings of the shield of Achilles, introduces 
two shepherds piping in this manner before their 
/locks : Avu) ^' a/w,' Iroiio )ioiJ.m<; te^tto^jvoi o-v^ty^h 


yi8. Pelas^a's fertile, Sfc.} The Pelasgi, who 
were settled in Tliessaly, were among the most 
ancient tribes of Greece. They gave to it the 
name of Aeria, which was the ancient appellation 
of Egypt, and from which countiy these people 
originally came. The name Aeria is derived from 
blackness, on account of the dark colour of the 
soil, which was observable both in the region 
where they settled, and that from whence they 
came. The Pelasgians are said, by the scholiast, 
to have taken their name, either from Pelasgus, 
the son of Inachus; from the Pelasgi, a certain 
tribe of barbarians ; or from Pelasgus, the son of 
Neptune and Larissa. The Pelasgi and Tyrrhe- 
nians appear to have had a common origin. These 
people also called their country Ai — Monah — 
Regio lunaris ; which the poets changed into Ha?- 
monia. See Biyant, and some additional disqui- 
sitions on this subject in the notes on the fourth 
book. The reader will find the origin, conquests, 
and emigrations of the extraordinary people con- 
sidered very much at large, in two dissertations, 
by citizen Dupuis ; which are published in theme- 
nioirs of the National Institute of France. See 
also Heyne on Virgil. 

930. Hero's tomb.l The tomb of Dolops. The 
hour of sacrifice to the infernal powers, and de- 
parted spirits, was evening or night. To the gods 
above, they sacrificed in the forenoon. The vic- 
tims which were offered to the former were 
ivloixcc, exsecta, or castrated ; to denote the barren- 
ness of death, or the grave, which yields no return. 
The victims proper for the celestial powers were 
fvof;^», or ' perfect males.' Dolops was the sou 


of Hermes, according to tradition. He died in 
Magnesia, and was buried there. — Gr. Scho. 

937. Aphetce.'] This place was so called, from 
a<f m/xt, ' to dismiss or let fly j' because here the 
Greeks let fly their sails. 

943. Amyrmi] A river of Thessaly, which flowg 
into the sea near Meliboea. It took its name 
from Amynis, the son of Neptune, according to 
ancient fables. 

945. Deep ravines, ^c] The word, in the origi- 
nal, is iv^vfMivccs. This (by the scholiast) is inter- 
preted gullies, that open from mountains into a 
plain. But Scylax makes Eurymenae the name of 
a town, lying without the gulf of Pag-asae ; and 
with him Val. Flaccus agrees. 

948. Olympian.} There were no less than six 
mountains, all of which bore the name of Olym- 
pus. In Macedonia, Thessaly, Mysia, Cilicia, Elis, 
and Arcadia. 

950. PalUne's sides.'] Pallene, a mountain and 
city of Thrace, the parent region, whence Pro- 
teus was descended. The original is KXtn a Tla^- 
^YivocKx, — devexa Pallence — * the slopes of Pallene j' 
similar to the expressions of Horace : — Ustiae cu- 
hantis — et supinum Tihur. — Oxf. edit. 

960. Myrine.] Lemnos had two cities, Hephaes- 
tea (so called from Vulcan), and Myrine. The 
latter was the capital of the island. Pliny relates, 
that at the time of the solstice, Mount Athos used 
to cast its shadow on the market-place of Myrine ; 
and Sophocles says, A^wj crxia^ti voJloc A»)/x»ia? 
aX©-.— Gr. Scho. 

968. Guilty, 8pc.'\ Lemnos had the appellation 
of Sinteis, from a Greek word, which signifies ' to 


injure,' "Ltvstv, because it was first inhabited by 
the Tyrrhenians, a branch of the Pelasgi, and a 
most barbarous, lerocious, and piratical race. Hel- 
lanicus gives a different etymon j and says it was 
60 called because arms, and the destructive im- 
plements of war, were there first fabricated. — 
Gr. Scho. 

082. Indignant Venus.] This goddess, being ir- 
ritated against the Lemnian women, for their neg- 
lect of her worship, rendered them offensive to 
their husbands ; who going frequently to the wars, 
and bringing home captives, expelled their wives, 
and substituted these women in their place. 
Spence observes, in his Polymetis, ' We meet 
with a character of Venus, on some particular oc- 
casions, as the goddess of jealousy rather than of 
love. I do not remember to have seen any figures 
of her under this character : there is not any de- 
scription of it to be found in any Roman poet 
before those of the third age : — Val. Flac. book ii. 
Ter. IOC This passage, in the Polymetis, evinces 
the truth and good sense of Mr. Gray's observa- 
tion on that work ; that had Mr. Spence consulted 
the Greek authors, they would have afforded him 
more instruction, on the very heads he professes 
to treat, than all the other writers put together. 
The learned critic seems to wonder at the passage 
in Valerius Flaccus, as exhibiting Venus under a 
new character J but, had he recurred to ApoUo- 
nius Rhodius, he would have seen, that the original 
idea of the vengeful and infuriate character of 
Venus is suggested by him; but much amplified 
and dilated, by Valerius Flaccus, in his usual de- 


clamatory manner. The means vvliicli Venus eni- 
ployed to render these unhappy women odious to 
their husbands, was the causing them to have a 
most disagreeable scent. This, wlien it conies to 
be explained, has, like most other fables of an- 
cient mythology, a good and rational moral. It 
intimates, that women are liable to lose the affec- 
tions of their husbands if they neglect their per- 
sons, and are inattentive to cleanliness and the 
arts of making themselves agreeable. This is the 
plain meaning of the story of the Lemnian women 
being punished, for despising the sacrifices of Ve- 
nus; that is, for neglecting the graces. Horace 
joins Suadela, the goddess of persuasion, and Ve- 
nus together, as the two powers that render per- 
sons agreeable. Myrtilus, in the first book of his 
Lesbics, (says the scholiast) differs from the re- 
ceived traditions; and relates, that the distrac- 
tions in Lemnos were caused through the jealousy 
of Medea ; who, as she sailed past, diffused cer- 
tain drugs, which rendered the females offensive 
to the men. This account is corroborated by 
others, which make the Argonauts touch at Lem- 
nos on their return. 

987. Tlie young- Hyps'qnle.'\ She is, with great 
propriety, made the single exception; both on 
account of the connection of parent and child, and 
because, by reason of her youth, her feelings had 
not been as much wounded as those of the otiier 
women. — Gr. Scho. 

995. JEnea's strand.'] The poet, says the scho- 
liast, has taken this story from Thelytes. ^nrea, 
or Sicinus, (as it is otherwise called) was an isiaitd 


near Eubcea. It had its first name of JEnd^d from 
oiv^, or cEnus, which signifies ' wine,' from its be- 
ing planted with vines. — Gr. Scho. 

1012. The Thracians, ^fc] The Leranian women 
were apprehensive that the Thracians, who re- 
sided not far distant, might pass tlie sea, to punisU 
them ; not only for the destruction of the Lemnidn 
men, but also of the Thracian captives, who had 
perished with their lovers. 

lOi'S. Ethalides.l Virgil, in his description of 
the first appearance of the Trojans on the Car- 
thaginian shore, seems to have had in his thoughts 
this approach of the Argonauts to Lemnos ; but 
he has gieatly improved on his original. How 
much more engaging and dignified are the conduct 
and sentiments both of Dido and the Trojans ! 
The Pythagoreans relate of this Ethalides, (says 
the scholiast) that, according to the transmigration 
of souls, he lived again in the time of the Trojan 
war, and became Euphorbus, the son of Panthus. 
After this, he became a certain Pyrrhns, a Cretan ; 
then, a certain person of Elis, whose name is not 
recorded; and then, lastly, Pythagoras himself. 
Ethalides is, with peculiar propriety, appointed 
ambassador of the Argonauts, being the son of* 
Hermes, god of eloquence. 

1027. His father gave.'] It is with suigular pro- 
priety, that Hermes is said to have bestowed thi^ 
extraordinary privilege of being alternately num- 
bered with the living and the dead : inasmuch, as 
it was his province to conduct the departed spi- 
rits from earth to tiie inferior regions ; or back 
again, from the shades to this life. See iEneid^ 
hook i. ver. 242. 


1056. Our tale of guilt.] The sensibility n. 
conscious shame of Hypsipilc, young, tender, ai 
compassionate 5 who had disapproved origina', 
of the crime of the Lemnian women, and h.; 
saved the life of her ancient father, is beautiful 
and highly in character. 

1067. PohjxoJ] Valerius Fiaccus takes notice of 
her, book ii. ver. 316 : 

Votes Pheho dikcta Folyxo. 

The contrast in appearance and sentiments be- 
tween the young queen and her aged nurse, is 
highly dramatic and interesting. 

1077. A7id thus she spake.] The speech of Po- 
lyxo, an old veteran in love, is highly beautiful 
and characteristic ; and was necessary, on this oc- 
casion, to dispel the fears and modest scruples of 
Hypsipile and the younger females. Her topics 
are admirably chosen. Her arguments are unan- 
swerable ; and she was the most proper person in 
the world to use them. Aged and decrepit, the 
sentiments are suggested by her own feelings and 
situation ; and the speech is illustrated, and ren- 
dered more impressive, by the unlovely appear- 
ance and infirm condition of the speaker. She is 
happily contrasted too with the blooming virgins 
who support her. This assembly would be a fine 
subject for painting. 

llSy. A rmmtle.] This description is rather too 
long ', but such was the beauty of Homer's de- 
scription of the armour of Achilles, that many dif- 
ferent succeeding writers, (as Virgil for instance) 
besides ApoUouius, have imitated it. That Apol- 
lonius Khodius had it in his thoughts, may be in- 


ferred from his introducing the Cyclops as figiues 
embroidered on the web by the hands of Pallas, 
a circumstance which resulted from a natural as- 
sociation of ideas. Homers shield directed our 
poet to the forge of Vulcan; the forge of Vulcan 
of course introduced the Cyclops to his conside= 

1 1 49. The Cyclops, S^'c.] Virgil has closely imi- 
tated this passage, iu the eightli book of the /Eneid, 
ver. 424, tt seq. The peculiar circumstance, in 
both passages, of the thunderbolt being yet unfi- 
nished, is so striking, that it furnishes an unequi- 
vocal mark of poetical imitation, within the canons 
laid down by Dr. Hurd. 

1158. Antiope.1 There were two females of this 
name : one, the daughter of Nycteus ; the other, 
the daughter of Asopus ; of which latter the poet 
speaks in this place j and from whom, and Jupiter, 
aprang Amphion and Zethus, who raised the Avails 
of Thebes, — Gr. Scho. 

1165. A double portion.l Ampliion's moving 
twice as many stones to build the walls of Thebes, 
by the sound of his voice and his lyre, as Zethus 
did by the efforts of bodily labour, seems to be 
an allegory, beautifully conceived, to express the 
superiority of the peaceful arts of wisdom and 
refinement, over mere physical force and warlike 
achievements, in producing and ensuring the 
strength and prosperity of a community. — Gr, 

1170. The shield of Marsi] Not in the manner 
of carrying it to war, or bearing it, as defensive 
armour ; but examining it m a sort of fond blan- 
dishment ; toying and playing with it in a sort of 

46 Notes on book i. 

amorous delight, as the appendage of an admire . 
and favoured lover. — Gr. Scho. Here again is a 
beautiful subject for painting, suggested by the 
graphic genius of the poet. 

1174. Faithful hnage.] As the goddess, in a 
sportive manner, held the polished shield of Mars, 
it served as a mirror ; and reflected a faithful 
image of her beauties. — Gr. Scho, There is inex- 
pressible taste and beauty, as well as novelty, in 
this tliought : it has not, as far as I can recollect, 
been imitated by any writer ancient or modern. 

1177. Taphians, S^c] Taphos was one of the 
Islands called the Echinades, where dwelt the Te- 
leboans, who before their setthng there inhabited 
Acariiania. They were a piratical and wicked 
race, most greedy of spoil. They made an inroad 
into Argos, to carry off the oxen of Alectryon, 
father of Al(^mene, and killed him and his sons. 
On this, Alcmene offered herself in marriage to 
any person who should avenge the death of her 
father and brothers. — Amphitryon accomplished 
this exploit, and received the lady as his reward. 
Herodotus (says the scholiast) relates, with re- 
spect to the occasion of this fight, that Perseus 
had four sons by Andromeda, Alcseus, Sthenelus, 
Nestor, and Alectryon, wlio held the sovereignty in 
common after the death of Perseus. Nestor had 
a daughter, named Kippothoe, from whom and 
Neptune sprang Pterelas, whose sons were Tele- 
boas and Taphus ; or, as others write, from Ptere- 
las, the son of Teleboas, came sons, who were 
called TeleboaB. The Teieboans having returned, 
to claim the inheritance of Hippothoe, the sons 
of Alectryon resisted them, and were destroyed. 


Tfie Teleboans are said to have obtained their 
name, from the circumstances of their dwelling at 
a distance, and driving away oxen from Argos. — 
Gr. Sclio. Robinson, in his notes on Hesiod, ob- 
serves, that ApoUodorus gives a different account; 
namely, that Alectryon betrothed his daughter to 
Amphitryon; and was afterward killed by him ac- 
cidentally. See Heyne, Not. in Apoll. 3'21-3'i3. 

3183. Tivo chariots, ^c] See the first Olympic 
Ode of Pindar ; ;Enomaus was the son of Mars^ 
and Arpine, the daughter of Danaus; and Hippo- 
damia was his daughter. He had been warned 
by an oracle, that he was fated to be killed by his 
son-in-law. On this account, he wished to pre- 
vent the marriage of his daughter; and, as a pre- 
text, refused to match her with any one who 
should be unable to conquer him in the chariot- 
race ; believing himself invincible in that respect, 
and therefore safe in offering such conditions — 
so swift were his horses. The place of starting 
was from the river Cladeus ; and the Isthmus of 
Corinth was the boundary of the course. JEno- 
maus had already killed thirteen suitors, when 
Pelops oflered himself to the contest, with horses 
which had been given to him by Neptune. He 
was so fortunate as to engage the affections of 
Hippodamia, who persuaded Myrtilus, the son of 
Hermes, the chariot-maker and charioteer of ^Eno- 
raaus, to fix the axle-tree in such a manner that 
it failed in the course, by which means ^nomauJ. 
was overthrown and killed. — Gr. Scho. 

n«f 3£vov Is a-Jvcjyoy.'-'Pindar, 


1191. A stripling.] Sanctamandus, as quoted by 
the Oxford editor, observes, that according as we 
read the passage, in the original text, with or 
without a comma, the sense will be either, ' A 
youth, not yet impetuous or fierce :' or — ' Not yet 
grown to be a fierce impetuous youtli.' P. 74. 

119-^. TityusJ] He, says Pherecydes, was the 
8on of Jupiter, and Elare, the daughter of Orcho- 
menus. When his mother became pregnant, Ju- 
piter, apprehensive of the jealousy of Juno, thrust 
her under ground, to conceal her and his offspring. 
Thus was Tityus born under the earth. Other ac- 
counts say, that, by reason of liis vast bulk, his 
mother was unable to bring him forth, and pe- 
rished in the cavern; so that Tityus was, as it 
were, born out of the earth. As the scholiast ob- 
serves, it was usual, by a sort of poetical amplifi- 
cation, to say, that persons of gigantic bulk were 
children of the earth. This is, in fact, the sons of 
giants. — Gr. Scho. 

1201. lolchian Phryxus.'] OrMinycianj for the 
abode of the Minyae was lolchos. He and his sis- 
ter Helle were the children of Athamas. It re- 
mains to be inquired, says the scholiast, what is 
the mystical meaning of the figures represented 
on the mantle. The poet (adds he) has a regular 
plan ; and wishes to exhibit, in one view, the dis- 
pensations of Providence, and order of things iu 
this world. And first, by the thunder and the 
Cyclops he suggests the existence of Divine Pro- 
vidence ; a deity, and avenging justice ; and, 
therefore, he says, that their work was incorrup- 
tible. Next, he shows how cities were built, and 


communities established. After this, he points 
out the course of events that usually happen in 
civil society ; as loves and wars ; which is the 
covert meaning of Venus bearing the armour of 
Mars. Violence and wrongs, and the feuds, con- 
tentions, and warfares attendant on them, are 
pointed out by the story of the Taphians. Pro- 
jects of revenge on the one hand, and nuptial 
alliances on the other, are designated under the 
narrative of the labours of Peiops. Impiety and 
vain resistance to superiors and lavrful authority 
are expressed under the figure of Tityus. Trea- 
chery, deceit, and wrong, are contrasted with the 
benefits resulting from good counsel • its tendency 
to produce unexpected safety in danger, is dis- 
played in the story of Phrjxus and Helle, and the 
sacred ram. The mantle is said to be the gift of 
Minerva, because the world was originally pro- 
duced by divine wisdom ; and, as to all events, 
and the actings of men therein, nothing can pro- 
ceed without the concurrence of a superintending 
Providence; and nothing can be administered 
happily and well, or promise itself a prosperous 
issue, except through wisdom. Such is the in- 
genious explication which the Greek scholiast 
gives of this passage. But the rule, Non erat his 
locas, seems to apply here. The long description 
of tlie mantle of Jason, at a time when the reader 
was impatient to know what was to pass betwt en 
him and Hypsipile, is not very seasonable. The 
descriptions of the armour of Acliilles, and of 
-(Eneas, are better timed. They come when there 
is some pause in the action, and the mind of the 
reader is disengaged. 


1211. McEiialus.'] A inoiu.tain of Arcadia, i 
was the residence of Atalanta, and took its nam 
from Maenalus, a certain Arcadian. 

1218. As the star.'] The comparison of the beam ^ 
of Jason's person, and the splendour of his appoint- 
ments, to the star of eve uslierin^ in the marriage 
night, v.ill appear peculiarly happy and illustrative 
of the subject, if we consider the natural conse- 
quences of the interview between Jason and Hyp- 
sipile, and the glad omens of future happiness, 
which the Lemnian women fondly drew from the 
appearance of Jason, in the same manner as the 
virgin did from that of the star of evening. 

1247. Say, stranger, S^c] 'Ihe speech of Hypsi- 
pile is very artful and plausible. Great part of it 
is true ; but she colours and dresses up the truth 
with much address and judgment ; and contrives, 
most carefully, to sink the massacre of the Lem- 
nian men in silence; as she was sensible, that such 
a transaction, were it known, must have excited 
a general fear and abhorrence. All the crimes of 
the men, and provocations of the women, are put 
in the strongest light, to excite the pity and re- 
gard of the strangers. 

1247. The speech of HypsipUe.'] Dionysius of 
Halicarnassus might have instanced this speech, 
along with those of Homer which he has cele- 
brated, as specimens of skill in the arts of elo- 
quence. The patience and cruel provocations of 
the Lemnian women, are put in the strongest light 
by the princess. The circumstances on which she 
dwells are admirably selected, being all such as 
^vere most proper to excite indignation against 
the Lemnian men, and commiseration for the 


ti^males. Their youth, beauty, duty, and virtue, 
were no consideration to engage regard and kiud- 
iiess. Slaves were preferred to thens. The legiti- 
mate offspring were supplanted by bastards, and 
neglected by their fathers. The daughters were 
treated with contumely, and beaten by their 
fathers concubines. The sisters, who were thiis 
cast off, and expelled from their homes, were de- 
spised by their brothers. The sons- disregarded 
the wrongs of their mothers. She adds, that the 
women waited with patience, in hopes of some 
favourable change in the disposition of the men, 
which showed their moderation and forbearance. 
Even their resistance to all this ill treatment, is 
said not to have been their own act, or a boldness 
natural to their sex, but inspired, on the instant, 
by some god. All this is calculated to inspire the 
strangers with confidence, and to induce them to 
settle among them ; particularly the fiction of the 
males having emigrated to Thrace, which removes 
all apprehensions the Argonauts might entertain 
on their account. — See Gr. Scho. 

1273 Widoiv'd wife.'] This is insisted on, with 
much delicacy and propriety, by an unmarried 
princess ; to show, that it was not any wantonness 
of the virgins, or any impetuous forwardness to 
be noticed by the men, that produced this general 
discontent, but the wrongs of tiie matrons. — Gr. 

1279. Sister to her brother.'] Sanctamandus, says 
the Oxford editor, for Kaa-kyr/fina-i wishes, with 
much propriety, to read Ka(7tyvn\oKri ; since the 
whole force and acrimony of the oration are 
directed against the men, and are meant to exag- 


gerate their unnatural conduct. I have foUowcf 
this amended reading in my translation. 

1296. Abide with us, Sfc] So Virgil makes Did 
say, JEn. i. ver. 572. 

131 3. Hand.] In token of amity and alUance. 
So Virgil, lEn. vii. ver. 266 : 

Pars mihi pads erii, dextratn tetigisse tyrmini. 

Oxford editor. 

1331. By choice, Alcides.'] The reader of Apol- 
lonius will find frequent occasions of remarking 
the exactness of the poet in delineating characters. 
The present passage is a beautiful instance of this 
excellence. Hercules is represented, with peculiar 
propriety, as refusing to accompany Jason and the 
majority of his companions, on their pilgrimage of 
love to the city of the Amazons. It would have 
been disgraceful, and out of character, if Hercules, 
the avenger of wrongs, the conqueror of labours, 
the scourge of monsters, had been introduced as 
foliov.'ing tlie dictates of passion, and tamely sur- 
rendering himself tiie slave of voluptuousness. 
Besides, the interference of Hercules was neces- 
sary to extricate the Argonauts ; and for this he 
is reserved. The character of Hercules is a very 
noble one, as it is sketched by Apollonius. He 
before made him decline the offered command of 
the Argonauts; and now, by making him choose 
to remain at the ship, the poet has followed the 
precept of Horace, and preserved him : Qualis 
ah incepto processerat. — Oxf. edit. 

1337. Vulcati.] Hesiod makes him the son of 
Juno alone, without any amorous intercourse. 
Homer makes him the son of Jupiter and Juno. 

Dotes on book r. bS 

the former has an allegorical meaning, consonant 
to the principles of modern chemistry. Vulcan^ 
or heat, springs from air. 

1339. His/air bride.} The sequel shows, with 
how mucii propriety Venus was invoked at this 

1341. Their voyage is defer fd.] The delay of 
Jason and the Argonauts, ensnared by love and 
pleasure among the Lemnian women, seems to 
have furnished the hint to Virgil, for his amorous 
sojourn ot JEnem with Dido, and the abandon- 
ment of the queen to the indulgence of passion : 
(.En. iv. ver. 86.) The character of Hercules is 
still finely preserved, and is properly employed 
by the poet to rouse the ^Argonauts to their de- 
parture from that seat of fascination. 

1347. Reproachful he began.] There is a fine in= 
di^nant spirit, and great energy, in tlie speech of 
Hercules, It is made up of interrogatories, which 
show the eagerness and reproachful vehemence of 
the speaker. It is not improbable, that this 
episode of Apollonius may be the poetical parent 
of the episode of the loves of Rinaldo and Armida 
in Tasso. Our poet is himself much indebted to 
the Odyssey of Homer. Valerius Flaccus (book ii. 
1. 378) introduces Hercules haranguing the Argo- 
nauts in the same manner. 

1364. Downcast (yes.l This passage is imitated 
by Virgil, yEn. xi. ver. 120 : 

Olli obstupuere silentes 

Conversiqun oculos inter se atque or a teiiebant. 

1369. As hees.} JnUus Scaliger, with great 
justice, praises the art and dihgence of oar poet 

VOL, lil, K 


in this passage. Undoubtedly he has surpassed 
both the simile of Homer in II. ^. ver. U7, and 
that of Virgil, ^n. vi. ver. 707, though both arc 
Tery beautiful. 

Bolou^ov h T7£lovT«t ett' avS^ECiv iiaoiioicnv 
* At jU£V t' £v3"a aXt; 'niTzol-narai, aih Vz ly^a. 

Ac veluti in 'pratis, uhi apes (estate sercva, 
Horibvs insidunt variis, et Candida circum 
Lilia fundunt ur ; strejnt omnis murmur e campus. 

The simile of ApoUonius has peculiar felicity, 
being applicable and apposite in all its members 
and circumstances. Thus, the hollow rock is 
expressive of the city of the Lemnians. The 
image of the bees flying out in swarms, expresses 
the women hurrying in confused crowds among 
the Argonauts, whose youth, beauty, and attrac- 
tions, are well expressed by the flowers. The 
buzzing of the bees is further expressive of the 
murmurs and confused noise of such a number of 
females. The circumstance of each bee applying 
herself to some particular flower, is applicable to 
the women attaching themselves, each to some 
particular individual among the Argonauts. It is 
observable, that this simile is introduced with 
tinee different aspects; to denote, first, the swarm- 
ing in crowds; then, the singling out particular 
objects, to which they clung ; lastly, the plaintive 
noise and soft murmurs of these fond women. 
The similies of Homer and Virgil are generally 
expressive of multitude and confused noise. 
1^81, Gothen,'\ So Valerius Fiaccus, book ii. 


ver. 4a!4. Virgil might, possibly, have in view the 
parting mandates of Jason, when he makes the 
Carthage queen say : 

Saltern si qua tnlhi de te susce pt a t 
Ante fvgam soboks, si quis milii parvuius aiiicl 
Luderet ^neas. 

1426. Samothrace.] This island was called by 
the inhabitants, Strategis : and Hellaniciis says, 
that it was called Electryonia; from Electra, the 
daughter of Atlas. She had three children, Dar- 
danus, the founder of Troy ; Eetion, or Jasion, 
who was said to have been struck with lightning, 
for violating the statue of Ceres; and Armonia, 
who was married to Cadmus, and called the gates 
of Thebes Electryan, after her mother, as Hella- 
nicus asserts, in his first book on the affairs of 
Troy ; and Idomeueus asserts, in his first book on 
the same subject — Gr. Scho. Valerius Flaccus 
refers to this passage, book ii. ver. 431. 

1428. Mystic rites.'] It was a received opinion, 
that if any person were initiated in the mysterious 
rites of Samothrace, he was preserved secure from 
storms at sea. Orpheus, Argonau. ver. 467, takes 
notice of this initiation, and its benefits. It is 
related that Ulysses, having been initiated, used 
a diadem instead of the purple fillet with which 
tlic votaries in initiation used to bind themselves 
about the middle ; and that Agamemnon, who had 
been initiated, quelled a sedition of the Greeks, at 
one time, by appearing with the purple bauds used 
in those mystic rites. Such w as the general vene- 
ration for these sacred symbols. The Cabiri were 
the deities who presided over these mysteries ia 


Samotlirace. These were originally called the 
great or mighty ones. (See Bishop Horsleys 
Charge.) Their names are mentioned by Mna- 
seas ; a writer quoted by the Gr. Scho. They 
were, it seems, four in number : Axieros or Ceres ; 
Axiocersa or Persephone; Axiocersus or Hades ; 
and Casmilns, who was the same as Hermes, as 
Dionysidorus relates. Athenion asserts, that Dar- 
danus and Jasion were the offspring of Jove and 
Electra. The Cabiri seem to have taken their 
name from certain mountains of Phrygia ; since, 
from that region, which was the abundant source 
of ancient superstitions, the mysteries of the Cabiri 
came to Samothrace. The Phrygian Cabiri, how- 
ever, were but two in number; Jove tiie elder, 
and Bacchus the younger. Samothrace, accord- 
ing to Aristotle, in his account of the polity of 
that island, was anciently called Leucosia. It 
obtained its latter name, Samothrace, partly from 
Saus, the son of Hermes and Rhene ; partly from 
the Thracians, who settled there. See scholiast 
on the Irene of Aristophanes, respecting the 
Cabiri. It may not be out of place here to add 
something respecthig the Idaei Dactyli. Strabo 
numbers five brothers of the Tdaei Dactyli, or 
Curetes ; Hercules, Paeon, Epimides, Jasias, and 
Idas : adding, that they had as many sisters. 
Others acknowledge but two, Titia and Cyllenus. 
Some derive the name of Corybantes from the 
word 'cheiub,' signifying, in the Phenicinn tongue, 
' valiant;' and add, that they were the guards of 
the first kings of Phrygia. (Pitisc. Lexicon Antiq. 
Natahs Comes Myth. lib. ix. c. 7.) Diodorus tells 
us, that Cybele was daughter of Meon, king of 


Phrygia; tiiat she uiarried Jasius, a Saraotliracian, 
brother of Dardanus, and had by him Ccrybas. 
After the death of her husband, she went with 
Dardanus and Coiybas into Phrygja, and intro- 
duced into that country the worsiiip of the mother 
of the gods ; calhng the goddess, after her own 
name, Cybele ; and her priests Corybantes, from 
her son Corybas. Dionysius (lib. i.) informs us, 
that Dardanus instituted the Samothracian mys- 
teries ; that his wife learned them in Arcadia; and 
that Idseus, the son of Dardanus, instituted after- 
wards tlie mysteries of the mother of the gods in 
Phrygia. Herodotus brings the Curetes out of 
Phenicia, with Cadmus ; and Sir I. Newton thinks, 
that having followed Cadmus out of Phenicia, 
some of them settled in Phrygia, where they were 
called Corybantes ; some in Crete, where they 
were named Idaei Dactyli ; some in Rhodes, where 
they were styled Telchines; others in Samothrace, 
where they were known under the name of Cabiri ; 
and some in Enboea, where, as they were well 
skilled in arts and sciences, they wrought in copper, 
(iron not being yet invented) in a city thence called 
Ciialcis ; some in Lemnos, where they assisted 
Vulcan ; some in Imbrus ; and a very considerable 
number of them in Etolia, which was thence called 
tlie country of the Curetes, till ^tolus, the son of 
Endymion, possessinghimself of it, called it ^Etolia. 
These Curetes, making themselves armour, used 
to dance in it at the sacrifices, with great noise 
of pipes, and drums, and swords ; which they 
struck upon one another's armour, keeping time, 
and forming some kind of harmony ; and this is 
reckoned the origin of music in Greece, both by 


Solinus (Polyhis. c. 11.) and Isidorus. (Orig. lib. 
xi. c. 6.) Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom, lib. i.) 
ascribes to the Curetes the invention ot" musical 
rhymes, and of the letters called Ephesian. Sir 
Isaac Newton is of opinion, that when the Pbeni- 
cian letters were brought into Greece by Cadmus, 
they were at the same time introduced into Phry- 
gia and Crete by the Curetes, who called them 
Ephesian from the city of Ephesus, where they 
were first taught. The Curetes were no less 
esteemed for their skill and knowledge in religious 
matters and mystical practices, than for their arts 
and sciences. In Phrygia, they attended the mys- 
teries of Cybele ; in Crete, and the Terra Curetum, 
those of Jupiter. Cybele, or the great mother, 
was sometimes represented with a key in her hand, 
sometimes with a drum, which has made some think 
she was the same with the Syrian goddess Astarte, 
whose chariot was also drawn by lions. Lucian 
tells us (De Salt.) that she was the Cretan Rhea, 
that is, according to some, Europa, the sister of 
Cadmus; thus the Phenicians introduced, as Sir 
Isaac Newton observes, the custom of deifying 
their dead; for we meet with no instance of such 
a practice before the departure of Cadmus and 
Europa from Sidon. 

The ceremonies performed by these priests in 
honour of the goddess were — at stated times they 
iised to carry a statue about the street, dancing 
and skipping round it; and having, with violent 
gesticulations, worked themselves up to phrensy, 
they began to cut and slash their bodies with 
knives and lancets, appearing to be seized with 
divine fury; very much in the manner of the howI» 


ing dervises among the Turks at this day, of whom 
the reader will find a particular description in the 
valuable tra^rels of Olivier. This ceremony was 
performed in memory of the grief of Cybele for 
her beloved Attis. A pine-tree was yearly wrap- 
ped up in wool, and with great solemnity carried 
h\ the priests into the temple of the goddess, in 
niemorj' of her wrapping up in the same manner 
the dead body of Attis, and carrying it to her 
cave. On these occasions the priests were crowned 
with violets, which were supposed to have sprung 
from the blood of Attis, when he laid violent hands 
on himself The victims oiFered to the goddess 
were a bull or a she goat. At Rome a sow was 
yearly sacrificed to her, and the ceremony per- 
formed by a priest and priestess, sent for out of 
Phrygia on that occasion. Her priests (those, at 
least, which were known under the name of Galli,) 
were all emasculated. This the great goddess re- 
quired of them, in memory- of Attis. The waters 
of the river Gallus, when plentifully drunk, were 
believed to inspire them with such a frantic enthu- 
siasm, as to perform the operation on themselves 
without the least reluctance. They were not 
allowed to drink wine, because Attis, overcome 
with this liquor, disclosed his amours with Acdestis, 
which he had ever before concealed with care. 
They abstained from bread, in memory of the long 
fast which Cybele kept after the death of the same 
Attis. They held oatlis to be unlawful on all occa- 
sions ; which tenet, some tell ns, was common to 
all the Phrygians. The priests were placed, after 
their death, on a stone ten cubits high. Though 
the Remans professed a great veneration for 


Cybele, they looked on her priests as the refuse 
of mankind. Of this there is an instance in "Vale- 
rius Maximus : One Genucius, a Gallus or priest 
of Cybele, having by a decree of the pretor been 
admitted to the possession of an estate, which had 
teen bequeathed to him, Maniercus Emilius Lepi- 
di!s, at that time consul, on an appeal, reversed 
the sentence of the pretor, on the principle tiiat 
a creature of bis description could not enjoy any 

1437. 3Ielanian.'] Thegulfof Melas. The Greek 
scholiast quotes Eudoxus, book iv. of his Periodus, 
or circuit, to show that this part of the jEgean 
sea had obtained the name of Melanian, and that 
the Sarpedonian rock lay behind it. The name of 
Melanian, or Melas, is said to be derived either 
from Melas, the son of Phrj^tus, who fell into that 
sea, or from the river Melas, which enipiies itself 
into that place. — See Gr. Scho. 

1439. The shore of Thrace— right hand.'] This 
must be a mistake. Thrace and Samothrace are 
to the left, as you sail towards the Dardanelles. 

1442. Ch^rsoiiese.] He means the Thracian Cher- 
sonese. It was orieinaliy an island. It lies oppo- 
site to the Troade. Tiiere was another Chersonese, 
belonging to Caria, and the birth-pl.ce of Alexan- 
der the historian, who wrote on the aifairs of Caria, 
— Gr. Scho. 

1449 Rhceteian.'] So calledfromRliKtia, daughter 
of Proteus. Rhaeteum and Sigeeum were promon- 
tories of the Trojan coast. 

1452. Percot^.] A city of the Troade, of which 
Homer makes mention. See lib. ii. ver. 612, of 
"Valerius Flaccus.— Jj/g^a Per cotes. 


1452. Ahamis.] A city of Lampsacus. It 
obtained its name from the following circum- 
stance. Venus, being beloved by Bacchus, grati- 
fied liis passion in this place, before his departure 
for India. During the absence of the god, she 
indulged herself in tlie embraces of Adonis, at 
this same place. When Bacchus returned, Venus, 
having made a garland, met him ai>d crowned him 
with it ; after which, siie desired him to fo'low her, 
to celebrate her nuptials. She then repaired to 
Lampsacus, where she wished to be delivered of 
the child with which she was pregnant. Juno, in 
a rage of jealousy, touched Venus on the belly with 
her hand, which was endued with magic mfluence, 
and rendered the birth deformed and monstrous. 
(This v/as the same deity which was afterwards 
worshipped under the name of Priapus, a poAver 
naturally deduced from Venus and Bacchus.) 
Venus, when she saw the monstrous infant, and 
his unseemly disproportion, rejected him with 
abhorrence. Hence, tuis place took iis name of 
Abarnis, or, as it were, Aparms, from a Gieek 
word, a7ra§vcO/xat, * to deny or refuse.' — Gr. Scho, 
1453. Fityeia's wails.] Val. Fiac. lib. ii. ver^ 

Parvumque infame fragosls exsuj>erant 
Pityamque vadis. 

The Greek scholiast says, Pityea and Lampsacus 
%vere one and the same, Fityea was the more 
ancient name. This api>ellation is said to have 
been imposed, because Phryxus, on his arrival, 
deposited a treasure there ; and treasure, it seems, 
js called 'mCivriy in the Phrygian tongue Orpheus, 


in his Argonautics, takes notice of the same place. 
Thus, he says : 

IXjov JaoJavtnv xarili/mV ilti cf^t' syjiyla;, &c. 

1454. The winds direct, Sfc.'] The expression, in 
the original, ^^ccv^i^a. v»j<^ ms-n^, which Haslzlinus 
interprets, Cum nee dextera, ut loquitur CatulhtSj 
nee Iceva vocat aura, sed Jupiter utrumque in pedcm 
incidit. * A¥hen the blast neither comes on the 
vessel from the right hand nor the left, but 
equally between both, and directly on the sails 
and yards.' 

1457. Propontis.'] Is the sea after you pass the 
Hellespont, and before you come to the Tiiracian 
Bosporus. In this Piopontis (says the Greek 
scholiast) an isle was situated, which afterwards 
became a Chersonese, or was joined to the main 
land by an isthmus. In this Chersonese is situated 
Mount Arctos, emphatically so called, because it 
is fabled, that there the nurses of Jupiter were 
transformed into bears ; or, lastly, because that 
mountain, by reason of its height, was supposed 
to approach the stars, particularly the Northern 
Bear. The Dolians, over whom Cizycus here 
mentioned reigned, inhabited the Chersonese and 
the isthmus. Apollonius seems to speak with 
some uncertainty; and, at one time, to call this 
district ' island,' at another to speak of the ' isth- 
mus.' This may be accounted for by recollecting, 
that the Chersonese had formerly been an island, 
and was afterwards connected with the land by an 
isthmus. With our poet agrees Orpheus, Argon, 
yer. 513 : a^jclwoicrsv o^tcrcri, &c. 

1467. ^sepus.] A river of Asia Minor, which 


separates the Troade from Phi ygia. The Troas 
begins from greater Mysia,and ends with iEsepus. 
To those who sail to Colchos, Asia is on the right 
hand, Europe on the left. 

147'j. Six hands.] This description is merely 
allegorical; to intimate that these men were 
robbers and pirates, and possessed uncommon 
force and dexterity, which they exerted in their 

1477. Thessalian Cizycxis.'] The ^founder of the 
city of Cizycus, and father of the prince of that 
name, was ^neas, a Thessalian by birth; who 
married iEnete, daughter of Eusorus, king of 
Thrace, who bore him Cizycus. Eusorus was the 
son of Acamas, who is mentioned by Homer. 
According to some writers, yEneus, the father of 
Cizycus, was the son of Apollo and the nymph 
Stilbe, from whom a city took its name. — Gr. 

1487. Haven.] The bay, to which the poet alludes 
here, was called Panormus. It was situated near 
Cizycus. There was also a bay of the same name, 
on the coast of Sicily. — Gr. Scho. 

1490. Anchor.] It was not uncommon among 
the ancients, while navigation and naval equipages 
were yet rude and but little understood, to make 
use of anchors of stone. Yet this interpretation 
plainly contradicts Orpheus ; who, in his Argo- 
nautics, clearly intimates that the Argonauts em- 
ployed anchors with bending flukes ; that is to 
say, in the modem form, anchors of iron and brass. 
This circumstance, slight as it is, famishes an argu- 
ment to make us conclude the poem to be less 
ancient. See Orpheus, ver. 490, et seq. The 


anchor of stone had no such thing as a fluke ; it 
held the vessel fast by its gravity alone. (See 
Oxf, edit.) What was used most anciently in 
mooring a ship was not called a-ynupa, (which re- 
fers to the curved form) but ivvci,t<^ Xi^'^. 

1491. Artacia-I This was a fountain near Cizycus, 
of which both Alcaeus and Callimachus make men- 
tion. — Gr. Scho. 

1495. Led by Nelevs.] The Nelidee. Nelens 
was the leader of the lonians, who migrated from 
Attica to Caria and Phrygia in after times. They, 
in obedience to the oracles of Phebus, consecrated 
this stone, which had served the Argonauts for an 
anchor, to Minerva. The Neleus here spoken of 
was modern, in comparison of Neleus, the son of 
Neptune, and father of Nestor. The Neleus here 
mentioned was the son of Codrus, the last king of 
Attica. This is one of the many passages, vvhere 
the poet delights to show his skill in antiquities 
and genealogical traditions. 

1508. God of day.] Apollo, as has been before 
observed, was worshipped, by sailors embarking, 
under the name of Embasius ; by sailors returning 
to land, under that of Ecbasius ; from two Greek 
words, that signify ' to embark and disembark.' — 
It was natural that the sun, which has such an 
influence on the weather, and such a share in 
the success of voyages and in the art of naviga- 
tion, should be an object of peculiar worship to 
sailors, who are generally the most superstitious of 

1511. Friendly tnonarch.] It may be observed, 
once for all, that in the heroic ages, vshich 
approached ©ear the patriarchal times, goyem- 


uieiits partook much of the patriarchal form. We 
find, that ahnost all the cities of ancient Greece 
and Asia Minor, and eveiy little district, were 
each under a monarchical government. In pro- 
cess of time it happened, that many cities were 
united under one chief. The king had his demesne 
in proprietory ; a portion of land, wiiicli w as 
assigned to him by tiie people. See an Essay on 
the Manners of heroic Ages, in the Transactions of 
the National Institute, by citizen L'Eveque. 

I.yjj. Her, ivon by countless, S^-c] There existed 
in the heroic ages a custom, which still prevails all 
through Asia, and of which, says L'Eveqne, many 
traces are to be found in the works of the ancients. 
The Imsband purchased his bride by presents^ 
agreed upon and stipulated between the two fami- 
lies. They called these presents £§•;«. But, in 
return, the spouse brought to her husband a cer- 
tain dowry or portion, which was called -ro-^otl, 
and often the husband was enriched by the fortune 
of his wife. Agamemnon otfers his daui'hter to 
Achilles, with cities for her portion ; and offers 
to wave the nuptial present. Widows w^ere wont 
to resume their portions on the death of their 
husbands. Olivier, whose travels reflect many 
lights on the ancient w riters, takes notice of this 
CQStora. In speaking of marriages, he says, 
* When the relations are agreed among themselves, 
they fix the sum which the husband shall give as a 
present to his wife ; and this present bears a very 
extraordinaiy appellation, which cannot properly 
be mentioned here.' 

154-\ Dindymiis.'] A mountain adjoining to 
Gizycus, sacred to Rliea or Cybele. It was called- 


Dindymus, quasi Didymus, from its two tops, 
which resembled paps. All Phrygia, in fact, was 
sacred to Cybele, and famous for its religious 
rites. Strabo, however, says, in express terms, 
that it has but one top. Bochart (de QiuBst. utrum 
Eneas fuerit unquam in Italia) thinks that a cym- 
bal was called in the Plirygian language Dindum, 
as it is in the Syrian Zingzum, and thence he de- 
rives the name of the hill, Dindymus ; the more, 
because the invention of cymbals is ascribed to 
the Phrygians, and in particular to this goddess, 
whose festival was celebrated on Mount Dindy- 
mus, witli great noise of cymbals and drums. 

1545. Chytus.'] A creek or harbour in the Pro- 
pontis, adjoining Cizycus, of which it seems to 
have been the port. Deilochus relates, says the 
Greek scholiast, that the Pelasgi, the ancient in- 
habitants of the region, attempted to fill it up ; 
out of hatred to the Thessaliaus, by whom they 
had been expelled. ApoUonius says, that this at- 
tempt was made by the gigantic natives of the 
place, to prevent the escape of the Argonauts ; a 
poetical manner of alluding to the same tradition. 
The poet must be understood to speak here of 
two diiFerent stations of the ship ; one, which was 
close to the city ; and another, which was more 
distant. The near one was that which was called 
;^vl(^; the station nearest the city was called 
rxj^o\i^(^ opiA.(^, prior statio^ because it was the 
first which those who went from the city met with 
on their way. The commonly received reading, 
in the original, must be translated — ' But those 
who were in the ship, impelled the vessel with 
oars from the port of Chytus, which is the further 


one, i. e. as you go from the sea, or the prior one, 
i. e. as you go from the city ' — See Oxf. edit. 

iJaO. Giajits.] Deiiochus says, that these were 
of Thessalian origin, having arms growing out of 
tiieir bellies. They lay in wait for the Argonauts, 
for the purpose of plundering them. — (Gr. Scho.) 
Tliere is a remarkable coincidence with this pas- 
sage in Olivier's Travels : ' Opposite to Buyuk- 
dere, (says he) is to be remarked in Asia a hill, a 
little more elevated tlian the others, situated on 
the shore of the channel. It is called the Giants' 
Mountain.' — P. 151, vol. ii. 

1560, Massij fragments.'} So Virgil, JEn. ix. ver. 
ri69 : 

Ingenti fragmine montis. 

1573. As when the woodmen.'] This simile, like 
all those of Apollonius, has a peculiar happiness 
and aptitude. The giants, as they lie slain ia 
rows, are compared to beams of wood or felled 
trees, both on account of the straightness and 
length of their bodies, and because of their being 
the produce or growth of the mountains, and be- 
cause they were cut down and deprived of life. 
The wood-cutters are descriptive of the Grecian 
lieroes. — (Gr. Scho.) Valerius Flaccus, in his 
third book, ver. 163, gives a very detailed account 
of this battle. He expresses the simile before us 
thus : 

Ac veluti 7nagnu juvenum cum densa securi 
Silva labut, cuneisque gemit grave rohur adactli, 
Jamque abies piceaque ruunt ; sic dura sub ictu 
Ossa virum Tnaiaque soruint, s-parsusqite cerebri 
Albet ager. 


The whole passage in the original is peculiarly in 
the manner of our poet, who delights in a parti- 
cular and graphic exhibition of minute circum- 
stances, perhaps, even to a fault. 

1598. Sacred] KccT £y(J)>i/xicr/ixoy, says the Greek 
scholiast. The ancients used to call many things 
good and sacred, which were dreadful and awful, 
or calamitous to man ; to avoid sounds of ill omen, 
by speaking of them as they truly were. Thus, 
the leprosy is called is^a. Morbus sacer was used 
by the Romans in the same manner : Sacer et 
intestabilis — Horace. Sum sacer, sum scelestus.' — 
Plautus. The Furies, on the same principle, were 
called Eumenides. Though, perhaps, that name 
might have been given them, as a respectful mode 
of speaking ; lest these malignant beings should 
be irritated by a term of evil import and detesta- 
tion. Thus we find, among our vulgar, fairies anil 
malicious imps are always mentioned with a sort 
of cautious rt^^rence, by the name of the 'good 

1602. Macrias Jiostile sons.] The Macrones, or 
people of Macria, the neighbours of the Dolians 
or Cizyceniaxis, and who were at war with them 
perpetually, were a colony from Euboea. On 
account of this circumstance, the settlement took 
the name of Macria, from Macris, the ancient 
name of Euboea. The word Pelasgic is used 
here, because Euboea, the parent couutiy of the 
Macrones, was anciently called Pelasgia, and was 
originally peopled from tlie primitive seats of the 
Polasgi, The Macrones were anciently called 
Bechiri, and were uncommonly expert in warlike 
exercises; as is related by Philostephauus amV 


Herodotus, who have jiiven an account of them. 
Some writers assert, that these Macroues had 
their name, because most of them were Macro- 
cephali, or had uncommonly long heads ; like some 
among the Persians, and hke certain savage tribes 
of this day. Herodotus speaks of the Macrones, 
in his second book. There was also a tribe, called 
Macrocephali, who lived near Cerasus, a city of 
Cappadocia. They are mentioned by Valerius 
Flaccus, in his fiftii book. 

1608. Amon^ the thickets, ^c] This simile is 
imitated from Homer, II. X. 

rirCfJt^Ot 'Xf!tlu<7lV iTiSiyOjXSVOl 7lV^^ OJjUrj. 

Still the expressive epithet avocX^ov, the very life 
of the comparison, was wanting ; this our poet 
has added: and Virgil has retained the idea, in his 
imitation of the simile before us. — See iEneid, xii. 
ver. 521. 

Ac velut imtnissi diversis partibus ignes 
Arentem in silvam, et virgulta sonantia lauro, 


The noise and destructive force of the volumes of 
flame, spreading through the dry forest, are aptly 
illustrative of the dreadful sound with which hos- 
tile columns advance, and the havoc which they 
occasion in their march. 

1613. The son of Mson met, SfcJ] See Valerius 
Flaccus, lib. iii. ver. 240. — And see Orphei. Argon, 
ver. 5^0. It is to be remarked, that Orpheus 
differs from our poet in many respects, as to the 
adventures of the Argonauts at Cizycus, and par- 


ticularly as to the death of the young king ; wh©,, 
he says, was killed by Hercules with an arrow. 

1623. By fate entangled.] The poet differs from 
some of the historians, in his account of this noc- 
turnal conflict, in ascribing it to chance. Ephorus 
relates, that the Dolians, who were originally 
Pelasgi, and entertained hostile sentiments towards 
the people of Thessaly and Magnesia, by whom 
they had formerly been expelled, set upon the 
Argonauts by night. Callisthenes, in the first 
book of his Periplus, tells us, that the inhabitants 
of Cizycus, through enmity, and not by mistake, 
(as our poet asserts) set upon the Argonauts by 
night.— Gr. Scho. 

1652. Tore their hairJ] The custom of tearing 
or cutting off the hair, and strewing it on tlie tomb 
or bier of the dead, was very general with the 
ancients. Thus, in Homer's Iliad, 23 : 

Bu( Peleus' sou, on other thoughts intent. 
Retiring from the funeral pile, shore off 
His amber ringlet?, whose exuberant growth, 
Sacred to Sperchius, he had kept unshorn. 


In the Iphigenia in Tauris of Euripides, there i? 

0K7(u. — Petronius Arbiter, Ruptos crines super 
pectus jacentis imposuit. See hereafter, the notes 
on the fourth book. 

1653. And thrice.'] The same funereal rites are 
performed for Patroclus, in Homer, Iliad 23. 1. 13. 

Oi it Toi; TTfgi V£XDoy ii/}^iy^ag y-ikaaay tTTTraj. 

* Thrice in procession round the cc^urse ihey drove 
Their coursers sleek.' 


CompaiT book the fourth, where the poet speaks 
of the funeral of Absyrtus. Valerius Flaccus 
adverts to this passage of Apollonius, book iii. 
ver. 347. 

1654. Sepulchral mound.^ The most ancient 
tombs were very simple. They were only hillocks 
of earth, called by the Romans tumuli. On tiiis, 
sometimes, an oar or pillar was erected. So 

Tufx^oy y^vjaylig x,at £7rt f nXnv hv crayTii 

See a subsequent note. 

1661. cute.'] The custom of dying with their 
departed husbands, which still prevails among the 
women of Malabar, was of great antiquity. Hero- 
dotus speaks of it in his fifth book. This custom 
was adopted, either out of affection, that they 
might follow their decease<l husbands; or from an 
abhorrence of second nuptials, which were, in 
those times, considered as highly disgraceful and 
improper. — See the Alcestis of Euripides. Homer, 
OdysseyTT, ver. 75. — Valerius Flaccus, book iii. ver. 
314. Valerius Flaccus, in his diffusive way, makes 
elite utter a long lamentation over her husband; 
after which, Jason pronounces a regular oration 
to com.fort her. She is then home to her purple 
conch, and saved from the fatal end to which 
Apollonius dooms her. 

1664. Fatal cord.] This kind of death had not 
the same reproach and ignominy attaiMied to it 
anciently which attended it in modern times. 
Jocasta, in Sophocles, and Pijccdra, in the Hip- 
polytus of Euripides, die in this manner. Virgil, iii 
the ^neid, xii. ver. 602, makes Araata put at end 


to herself in the same way ; yet notes the infamy 
which, in his time, began to attend this death. 

1677. On Ceres' gifts, Sfc] The original is lite- 
rally, ' None of the Cizycenians recollected to 
grind corn ; they sustained life by provisions not 
cooked or prepared with fire.' It was usual for 
families, in ancient times, to grind their own corn . 
For this purpose they made use of hand-mills, 
which were worked by their slaves, to whom this 
task was allotted, by way of punishment, as the 
heaviest work. Hence, we have in the comic 
poets, which give a picture of ancient manners, 
Dabo te in pistrinam — molendum in pistrisia. 

1682. With annual lapse.] We see here, as in 
many other passages, how fond the poet is of dis- 
playing his antiquarian knowledge. 

1690. Halcyon.] Ceyx, king of Thrace, married 
Halcyone, the daughter of ^Holus. On a voyage 
to consult the oracle of Delphos, he was ship- 
wrecked, and his corpse was thrown ashore, in 
sight of his wife; who, in the agonies of love and 
despair, threw herself into the sea. The gods, in 
pity to their conjugal piety, changed her and her 
husband into birds, which bear the name of halcyons. 
The halcyons seldom appear but in the very finest 
weather ; whence they are fabled to build their 
nests on the waves. 

1702. Mother of the gods.] Cybele. The wor- 
ship of this goddess was famous in Piirygia. Her 
priests, sounding their tabrets, and striking their 
bucklers with spears, danced, and distorted their 
whole botiies. To these dances and distortions 
they also added shrieks and liowhngs ; whence they 
were called Corybantes. In this manner, accord- 
ing to fable, the Curetes of Cret6 drowned the 


cries of Jupiter, while he was concealed among 
them : and in this manner, the Corybantes de- 
plored the death of Atys, the favourite of their 
goddess. See the noble poem of Catullus on the 
story of Atys. 

1707. On Cybele depend^ ^c] Orpheus, in his 
hymn to this goddess, ascribes to her the same un- 
limited dominion : 

Ex cv yas xaj yaia Kcti 0L'5av(^ f^j'-'? vTii^iy 
Kai W3v7©^ vrJouuh.—Oipbic Hymn, xiii. 

This part of the heathen mythology, respecting 
Rhea or Cybele, was allegorical, and had a phy- 
siological meaning. By Rhea, a name which is 
derived from the Greek verb ^mv. ' to flow,' the 
ancients signified the earth, or rather the terrestrial 
system ; the parent, or rather the complication and 
combination of elements, air, water, hot, cold, 
moist, and diy. They made her tlie mother of all 
the gods ; because, from her, various elementary 
changes, and natural influences and appearances 
proceed ; which, in the Heathen mythology, are 
dignified with the names of different deities. As 
Jupiter, the tether; Juno, the terrestrial atmos- 
phere; Apollo, the light; Neptune, the ocean, whence 
rivers take their source ; Vulcan, elementary fire ; 
Pan, Ceres, the Nymphs, the Dryads, and river 
gods, with a train of other divinities, all designate, 
or are supposed to preside over, some attribute, 
part, or production of the earth. Chronus, Saturn, 
or Time, is assigned to Rhea, as a husband ; be- 
cause the earth produces elementary changes, and 
the natural vicissitudes of seasons, in a certain 
order and progress, at different periods of revolv- 
ing time. — See Gr. Scho. 


1721. His co2ich ] This was only a bed of sheepi 
skins laid over one another. 

1728. Approached the sight '\ The expression, in 
the original, is, * Came under their hands; or 
seemed to be in their hands ;' a natural expression 
of the feelings which one has, when distant objects, 
viewed from an eminence, seem to be brought 
close under the eye. — Oxf. ed. 

1729. Rising steam.'} In the text, he^oev, caligi- 
nosum^ * misty.' 

1731. That opposite.^ In the original, ik^' {ji^rig. 
The poet does not here speak of the continent of 
Europe, on the other side; for both Mysia here 
meant, and the ^sepus, were on the Asiatic side. 
But, by the other region, he means the Troade ; 
along the border of which the i^sepus takes its 
course, dividing it from Mysia. Homer couples 
the Granicus and the .lEsepus, r^yjvtx^ koh AnxYf 
77©-, together. The Troas, beginning from the 
greater Mysia, ends at .^sepus. Dolionia and 
Phrygia, commencing with the ^sepus, end 
with the Rhyndacus. It is to be observed, that 
there were two distinct regions known by the 
name of Mysia ; one Asiatic, the other European. 
They were the hills of the Asiatic Mysia which 
were in view of the Argonauts on the present 
occasion. — See the Gr. Scho. 

1732. Nepe.] The plain of Nepeia lie» about 
Cizycus. Callimachus makes mention of it in his 
Hecale. Dionysius Milesius says, it was a plain 
of Mysia, and took its name from Nepeia, daughter 
of Jasus, who married a king of the Mysians. 
Apollodorus places the plain of Nepeia in Phrygia. 
Callimachus, in the work entitled Monuments or 
Records, says, Nf/msc-Jv uvxi mv to n^Kiv koIs- 


J^yc-a/xsyy. Apollonius makes mention both of 
the city and the plain. Homer speaks of tlie city 
of Adrastia. — Gr. Scho. 

1737. An image of the goddess.'] It sometimes 
happens, that the roots and brandies of age-i trees 
bear a faint resemblance to the human fabric. 
The ancients seem to have taken advanta£;e of tliis 
similitude, which they improved by a httle art : 
■ and the first essays, towards framinsr images, were 
drawn from these rude materials. — Bryant, Mythc. 

1741. Stones, i^x.] The word, in the original, 
denotes snch small stones as may be grasped in the 
hand. Of these, compacted with rubbish and 
mud, this temporary altar was formed. 

1742. Leaves of oak.] This tree is particularly 
mentioned, because it was sacred to Cybele. The 
reason of its being consecrated to the goddess 
was, that the oak was used by the first race of men, 
who lived chiefly on acorns, both for food and 

1746. Sacred Tityas.] The poet, in the passage 
before us, shows his predilection for religious rites 
and ceremonies. The Idaei Dactyli were constant 
attendants of Cybele. Tityas is said, by some, to 
have been the son of Jupiter ; by others, to have 
been the eldest son of Mariandynus, king of the 
Cimmerians. He contributed so much to the in- 
crease and prosperity of his people, that he was 
deified by them. The Idaei Dactyli took the first 
part of their appellation from Mount Ida, where 
Cybele was first worshipped. Tlie latter part of 
it they took from the word dactylus, ' a finger;' 
because they were five in number, for each hand 


of the nymph Anchiale, who, grasping the earth 
with both hands, produced the Idaei Dactyli. 
Those that answered to the right hand, were 
males ; those that corresponded to the left, fe- 
males. The ancient fables and traditions differ 
veiy much respecting these extraordinary perso- 
nage?. Sophocles calls them Phrygians, in his 
drama entitled Kojifio* a^lx'[v^o^. Some writers make 
them the sons of Dactylns and Ida. Pherecydes 
assigns them a number, much greater than it was 
commonly supposed to be ; namely, twenty for 
the right hand, and thirty-two for the left. They 
were said to be sorcerers, and skilful in drugs and 
poisons. They are also fabled to have been the 
first who practised mining and metallurgy. The 
Dactyli of the left hand were said to bind with 
charms and witchery, or to be black witches; 
those of the right, to dissolve their enchantments, 
or to be white witches. Other fables state, that 
these persons having received Rhea in a cavern of 
Mount Ida, touched her fingers, and thence ob- 
tained the name of Dactyli. The author who 
composed the Piioronis speaks of them thus, says 
the Greek scholiast : 

There wizard men, a race of mountaineers, 
PhryL'ians of Ide, iheir mansions held of yore, 
Cehiiis, Damnaiueneiis, ibe great, Acmon 
Proud and o'erweening, active servants all. 
Of mountain Adrastea — they, the craft 
Of artful Vulcan first reveal'd, and digg'd 
The usefnl ore of blackening steel, from crags 
And woody glens. They first applied the force 
Of scorching flame, and from the furnace rose 
The bright and precious work of polish'd steel. 

By some writers, the Idaei Dactyli, the Cory- 


bantes, the Curetes, and the Cabiii, are supposed 
to be the same. Others speak of them as related to 
each other, but with some slight shades of differ- 
ence. Orpheus, in his Argonautics, (ver. 25 to 
27; speaks of them as different from each other. 

The' Iflsean orgies, an<l the power immense 
Of Corybantes, witb the wan(1trin!»s wide 
Of bonnieous Ceres, and tlie momuful strain 
For lost Persephone ; of her w ho gave 
Laws to the human race, the splendid gifts 
Of tlie Cabiri, 

Orpheus, the great theologer of antiquity, invokes 
the Curetes, Cabiri, and Corybantes, as distinct 
divinities. Thus, among the Orphic hymns, we 
find one to the Curetes, and another to the Cory- 
bantes. — See Orpii. Eschenb. p. 134 and 136. 
Nonnus, in his Dionysiacs, book iv. plainly distin- 
guishes the Idat Dactyli, Corybantes, and Curetes. 
Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Pausanias, also 
speak of the Curetes and Corybantes as different, 
and as represented under distinct forms and sem- 
blances. All this comparison and variety, respect- 
ing these divine and mysterious persons, arose (as 
Strabo justly obj-erves) from the ambiguity of the 
word Ida, which signifies both a mountain in 
Phrygia, where the goddess Rhea was worshipped, 
in a pecuUar manner ; and also a moimtain in Crete, 
where Jupiter is fabled to have been born, and 
nursed by the Curetes, or Corybantes, who con- 
cealed him from the pursuit of his father Saturn. 
These Corybantes, the guardians of infant Jove, 
were said to have been three in number : whence 
came the xtf^riltx*) rjia^, spoken of by Proclus, 
See the learned note of Spanhemius, on the fifty- 


second line of the hymn to Jove of Callimachus; 
Oppian, in his Cynogetics, has a curious passage 
respecting the Curetes. 

NvjTTtax^ Kyo>iTff, or' aoTtyovov /otsv f3v?a 
A^afXcvn y£y«?>i{^ aiJiit>^ixlotv Kfoyeio 
KX* vj'''^"^ P«»>1 xoXwoij ey»zctl3£T0 K{>il>if 
Oi/fay»55)f £a-i5u)v x^a]«goy v£s3>i>.£a 7ra»5a 

Koti S^jaf iroiJij ey a^^£i\I/ajU£v^ Ksjrilar, 

Here the poet gives us a piece of mythology not 
commonly known, that Saturn, when he found 
what the Curetes had done, through resentment 
changed them into lions. 

Of Cffbele.~\ Arnobius gives the following ac- 
count of Cybele, (or Cybebe, as she was sometimes 
called) from the mythology of the Gentiles, ('c'o«fr« 
Gentes, lib. viii.) There was a vast rock on the 
borders of Phiygia, called, in the language of that 
country, Agdus, from whence Deucalion and Pyr- 
rha, by the direction of Themis, took the stones 
with which they renewed mankind after tiie De- 
luge. From one of these sprung Cybele, the great 
mother of the gods. The same rock conceived 
by Jupiter, and brought forth Acdestis, who is 
said to have been an hermaphrodite, of invincible 
strength, of a most cruel and intractable temper ; 
and, above all, a most outrageous enemy of the 
gods, who were in no small fear of him-, till Bac- 
chus, by a cunning contrivance, found means to 
deprive iiim of his manhood, and thereby rendered 
him somewiiat more tractable. From the blood 
he shed on this occasion, sprang up a pomegra- 


nate-tree, loaded with fruit, in full perfection and 
maturity. Nana, daughter of kinj^ Sangarius, 
charmed with these pomegranates, gathered one, 
and, as it was of a most beautiful appearance, put 
it in her bosom. This cost her dear ; for soon af- 
ter proving with child, notwithstanding her protes- 
tations of innocence, she was shut up by her father, 
and condemned to starve. Being kept alive by 
fruits conveyed to her by Cybele, she was, in due 
timCj delivered of a son, who was exposed by his 
grandfathers order. The child was taken up by 
one Phorbas, and nursed with goat's milk, whence 
he was called Attis ; the word aitagos, in the 
Phrygian dialect, signifying ' a goat.' Attis be- 
came a most beautiful youth, and on that account 
was highly favoured, both by Cybele and Acdes- 
tis. Nay, Midas, king of Phrygia, then residing 
at Pessinus, was so taken with him, that he de- 
signed to bestow on him his only daughter, by 
name Ja. The day of the nuptials being come, 
Midas, to prevent any disturbance that other sui- 
tors might create, caused the gates of the city to 
be shut and guarded. But no gate or guards could 
keep out the great mother of the gods. Stung 
with jealousy, she presented herself at the gates 
of the palace, with the walls of the city, and all 
their turrets, on her head : whence she was ever 
after pictured with a crown of towers. At the 
same time came Acdestis, who, inspiring with en- 
thusiastic phrensy all who assisted at the fatal 
nuptials, changed the genial banquet to a scene of 
horror and confusion. The unhappy bridegroom, 
in the height of his fury, emasculating himself un- 
der a pine tree, soon after died of tfie wound. 


The bride, laying violent hands on herself, accom- 
panied her spouse to the shades. Cybele and Ac- 
destis long bewailed the untimely death of their 
beloved Attis ; and Jupiter, at their joint request, 
having exempted his body from corruption, a 
magnificent temple was erected to his memory in 
Pessinus, ceremonies instituted, and priests ap- 

Eusebius gives a different account, copied (as 
he says) from the ancient Phrygian mythologists. 
According to these, Meon, the first king of Phry- 
gia, was father to Cybele, who, being smitten with 
the charms of Attis, proved with child by him, on 
which Meon caused him to be put to death j at 
which Cybele, being unspeakably grieved, wan- 
dered long up and down Phrygia, seeking in the 
mountains and woods some allay to her grief. Her 
sorrow being in course of time somewhat assuaged, 
she admitted Apollo into an intimacy with her, 
and with him wandered to the Hyperboreans. By 
his order, the body of Attis was interred, and 
Cybele, after her death, ranked among the deities. 

Tlie Roman Miiters differ widely from those we 
have quoted, and frequently among themselves. 
According to them, Cybele was the daughter of 
heaven and earth, wife of Satun), and the same 
with Ops, Rhea, Vesta, and the Bona Dea. She 
was exposed, immediately after her birth, on Mount 
Cybelus ; nursed there, first by wild beasts, and 
after by the wife of a shepherd, who found her by 
chance. The Romans having learned from the 
books of Sibyls, that they should never be able to 
drive the Carthaginians out of Italy, till the Idaean 
mother was brought to Rome, sent ambassadors 


to king Attains, who delivered to them a stone, 
which the inhabitants of Pessinus called the * great 
mother' of the gods. This happened in the year 
U. C. 530. It is to be observed, the Romans had 
two goddesses named Vesta — one, the same with 
Cybele, or the earth, and wife of Satura, called 
Vesta, because stat vi terra suciy as Ovid says. — 
Vi statidn Vesta vacatur, the other daughter of Sa- 
turn, and goddess of fire, or rather fire itself, ac- 
cording to the verse of the same poet : 

Nee tu aliud Vesta quam vivatn intellige 

1758. Warlike dance.'] The Betarmns, or Pyr- 
rhic dance, is said to have had its origin among 
the Cretans ; where it was anciently used by the 
Curetes. It was called Pyrrhic, from fire, which 
accompanied it. 

1759. With swords they clash.] This practice 
was first introduced by the Curetes, who had the 
care of Jupiter, and kept him concealed from his 
father Saturn. They clashed their shields, with 
great violence, to drown the cries of the infant ; 
lest Saturn should discover and destroy him. Or- 
pheus, in his Argonautics, line 533, says, that 
Rhea, being enraged for the death of Cizycus and 
his people, raised a tempest, which retarded the 
voyage of the Argonauts ; and that these rites were 
performed to appease her. 

P«>j yag yioiuenct ^t^wTro]^ /<VJ3ta Xa«. 

The Argonauts, says the poet, appeased the god- 
dess with solemn rites and libations j and per- 


formed funeral games in lionour of the deceased. 
— See line 573 : 

Herodotus telis us, that Anacharsis the Scythian, 
in his passage over the Hellespont, touched at Ci- 
zycus, at the time when the inhabitants were cele- 
brating a festival to the mother of the gods. He 
made a vow, that if he should return safe, he 
would institute similar rites, in honour of this 
deity, in his own country. Having reached Scy- 
thia, in the district of Hylea, near the course of 
Achilles, a place abounding with trees, he per- 
formed all the particulars of the above-mentioned 
peremonies ; having a number of small statues se- 
cured together, with a cymbal in his hand. He 
was observed by one of the natives, who gave in- 
telligence of what he saw to Saulius, the Scythian 
king ; who, repairing to the place, killed Anacharsis 
with an arroAV. — See Herodotus, Melpo. c. 76. 

1767. Antiea.'] Oipheus has an hymn, vid. Ed. 
Esch. p. 138, in honour ju,»']^(^ olvlonccg, Cybele is 
called Antaea, either from her being hostile to the 
Telchiues, and meeting them in an adverse man- 
ner, or from her being mild and placable, quasi 
luav'jji'i©-, easy or pleasant to be met with. 

1769. The trees above, 4^c.] The earth being ty- 
pically signified under the name and divinity of 
JRhea, the poet has very properly made the trees 
produce their fruits, and the ground throw up its 

p73. Thirsty soil.'] Callimachus (hymn to Jove> 


\ev. 2Q) gives a soiiievvhat diiferent account of this 
miracle : 

Taia. ^iX>j lvA.1 V.CU (TV ; rtai u>hm; hxt^^aH. 
'EiTTc -Aui. aylancjacrct, ^m lUJyav ^■J^O'^'i 'Tin-xyv 
nx>)|£v 'Og©-" ffx>i7i7jcy 7o ^£ o» hyu xtsXv Sn;n 

See note hereafter. — Is it not very probable, that 
the idea suggested in this passage, of Rhea strik- 
ing the mountain with her sceptre, and producing 
a plenteous stream of water, was first hinted to 
Cailimachus, by the incident of Moses striking the 
rock in the wilderness? The goddess was called 
Eliea, on account of this stream, from ^scu, ' to 
flow.' Apolionius probably had seen the writings 
of Moses. 

1793. Tu himself he drew.'] This seems to refer 
to some trial of strength, such as takes place be- 
tween rowers. 

1790. Rhyndacus.] A river of Phrygia, now the 
Micalitza. — See Olivier's travels, lately published. 
Tl;e Rhyndacus, called by Pliny, Lycus ; by some 
of tlie moderns, Lartacho ; has its source in the 
Jake of Apollonia- or Artymia, (as Pliny names it) 
and falls into the Propontis near Cizycus. This 
river is memorable, in the Roman history, for the 
pveitlirow of Mithridates ; who, designing to sur- 
piL-e LucuUus, was himself surprised, and his army 
cut to pieces, at the banks of this river. 

1799. JEgeo7i's monument.'] On the Rhyndacus. 
I^'d,iion is said by liesiod to have been the son of 
Calum and Terra. He was the same with Bria- 
itos, or Gyges. pting conquered by Neptun?, 


(according to that poet) he was overwhelmed in 
the place where his mbuument remained. The 
scholiast quotes Eumelus, who, in his Titanoma- 
chia, makes ^Egeon the son of Earth and Sea. — 
Gr. Scho. 

1806. Strange to his hands.] From their being so 
much used to toil and exertion. A fine compli- 
ment to the hero. 

1807. What time the delver.'] The Argonauts 
came to this place about the close of evening, 
when labouring men return from their work. 

1809. fVeary knees.] TeIu/xm-ev* yavxT. Horace 
translates this literally, Multo jam fracius memhra 
labore. Homer ascertains time in a similar man- 
ner to this of Apollonius, by a reference to rustic 
labour, i^u.(^ ^^v1oixo(^ otvr,^. 

1813. Ciane's.] Tne country round Cius, a city 
of Mysia, was, in a great measure, encircled by 
the river Cius, which, according to Aristotle, took 
its name from a certain leader of a Milesian co- 
lony. The inhabitants of this country were first 
Mysians, and then Carians. Scylax the geogra- 
pher mentions it. — Gr. Scho. 

1839. His pond'rous chih, ^c] The passage, in 
the original, is one of those which are formed to 
vex and discredit a translator : — a minute and cir- 
cumstantial description of an humble action. 

1847. As when Orion.] Virgil has imitated this 
passage, ^En. vii. ver. 719. Scevus uhi Orion. 

1856. Hylas.] He was the son of Theiodamas. 
The old scholiast seems to be scandalized at the 
poet's sending this boy for water; a task, as he 
says, more suitable to a girl. The catastrophe of 
this youth seems to have been a favourite theme 


i.vilh aiicienl poets. Cui non dictus Hijlas puery 
The story is related, with great siniphcity and ele- 
gance, by Theocritus, Idyll, xiii. Hercules had 
many favourites besides Hylas; as Phiioctetes, 
Dionius, Perithyas, and Piuix, the founder of » 
city of Libya. — Vide Gr. Scho. 

1866. The Dryoyes.'] They were a people of 
Epirus, a ferocious and savage race, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Mount Parnassus, much addicted to 
i-obbery and outrage. Theodamas was their 
prince, or chief. 

1867. Amid the lahoitrs.] The account given of 
this transaction is, that Hercules- having killed 
the centaur Nessus, in the river Euenus, proceed- 
ed, with Deianira his bride. Hyllus his son. and 
Lichas the preceptor of the boy, until he readied 
the confines of Dryopia. Here the party were 
in great distress for food; they found jheiodamas 
ploughing, and applied to him for relief, but were 
mdely repulsed. Hercules, enraged at tiiis treat- 
ment, unyoked one of the oxen, with which this 
inhospitable prince was ploughing, and slaughtered 
him. With part he sacriticed to the gods, and 
feasted on the Remainder. Theiodamas repaired 
to the city of tie Dryopes, and having kd them 
forth to attack Hercules, reduced the hero to such 
straits, that he was even obliged to afm his wife 
Deianira, who is said to have been wounded in the 
breast in the conflict. Hercules, having gained 
the victory, and kiiled Theiodamas, carried off the 
young Hylas with bf!:n> and transplanted the Dry- 
opes from their native seats to Trachis orTrdchin* 
a Thessalian city, and to Mount iEta, on the bor- 
ders of Phocis ; that the manners of tiiis s,mii<^ 

VOL. iir. « 


and piratical race might be meliorated by mixture 
■with strangers. Pherecydes, in his second book, 
says, that the Dryopes had tjieir name from Dry- 
ops, whose parents, according to some, were Ly- 
caon and Dia, or, as others say, were Peneus and 
Polydora, daughter of Danaus. — ( Vide Gr. Scho.) 
The conduct of Hercules towards Hylas was very 
amiable, according to Theocritus : 

Oacra [AdSruiv ayu^(^ kui aoif j/w.^ avl<^ syivlo. 

1870. Sought,'] Not on a principle of cruelty or 
injustice; but as an avenger of wrongs, and a 
punisher of violence and iniquity. He wished to 
have an occasion of falling on the Dryopes, who 
had rendered themselves odious and terrible by 
their crimes and enormities ; and taming a barba- 
rous and inhospitable people. Callimachus gives 
a different motive, and speaks of the rapacity of 
Hercules. — See hymn to Artemis, 159. 

' His greedy appetite insatiable 

Urg'd bim to conflict with Theiodamaa.' 

1882. The goddess of the silver light.] Callima- 
chus, in his hymn to Diana, represents her as en- 
circled by a choir of her nymphs. So Virgil : Ex- 
ercet Diana choros qnem mille secutce hinc atque 
hinc glomerantur. 

1885. A nymph, emergent.'] The name of the 
spring was Pegce. Authors vary in their accounts 
of this transaction. Orpheus, in his Argonautics, 
relates this event with some variation (ver. 641.) 
He says, that Hercules went into the woods in 
pursuit of game ; and that Hylas, having attempted 


to follow him, lost his way, and came to the cave 
of the njTnplis of the marslies ; who, struck with 
his godlike beauty, detained the youth, that he 
might enjoy immortality among them. He places 
the scene of this adventure at the foot of JMount 

AfxHpi ^c w/a^^, A^ay^a xalifarn — 
Ev St (TTTf^ hSvSti yv(j.fwy 
Atf/.vaxt5'juT ai St c^jv ta-ay^crij-aijctt lovTct, 
KKgov av1<3'£0v x«7{ou>caxov ofga avy uvraig 

Propertius says, that Hylas was carried away by 
the Dryads ; others, that he was taken by the 
Nymphs. Theocritus, in his thirteenth eclogue, 
which bears the name of Hylas, says, that the 
youth was carried away by all the Nymphs : 

ITacawy ya^ sjw; a'Ka'ku.g ^^tvag a^.tn-MkV'^vi 

Valerius Flaccus, book iii. ver. 529, makes a much 
longer episode of this incident. He introduces 
Juno as interfering ; and, according to his custom, 
puts a long speech into her mouth. He makes 
her instigate the nymphs to carry off Hylas j a con- 
duct to which she is led, according to the poet, 
by her rooted animosity towards Hercules. 

1900. She sprang.'\ Valerius Flaccus (lib. iii, 
ver. 561) describes the attempt of the nymph 
thus ; 

Bla avidas injecta mantis heti sera clentem 
Aiixilia, et magni referentem nomen amici 

1907, Son of Elatus.] Polyphemus. He was 


married to Laouome, daughter of Amphitryon and 
Alcmene, and sister of Hercules. — Gr. Scho. 

1913. Savage heast.] The word ^y)^, in the text, 
seems to be pecuUarly used to signify ' a lion.' — 
Thus, CaUiraachus, — Qm^ oli{loc(^m Ab^imo, kk- 
Iw/xaotoy. Virgil has imitated this simile, ^En. ix* 
ver. 59. 

1943. As when the horneL'] Tryphiodorus em- 
ploys the same comparison, ver. 351 : 

KfVTgov iTihi'ni ^ooD^atg-ao [j.iiw'n!^.' 

So the younw heifer, seized with frantic pain. 
Tosses aloft her head, and scours the plain ; 
Struck by the maddening breeze she quits the stall, 
Flies from her kindred herd, nor heeds the keeper's call.' 

The word, in the original, is myops, a kind of 
fly which is found in spring about the pastures of 
black cattle. Alighting on them, it drives them 
to madness with its sting. It is also called astrus^ 
although Sostratiis, in his fourth book concerning 
animals, distinguishes the myops from the astrus ; 
and says, that the former is produced or generated 
in woody places, the latter in rivers and in marshes. 
Virgil, sixth eclogue, takes notice of the loss of 
Hylas, and the grief of Hercules, ver. 43. 

1962. Posideium.l There was another cape, with 
a town of the same name, in Caria, called Capo di 
Melaxo. The tirst is mentioned by P. Attela, the 
latter by Pliny. 

1967. The band perceiv'd.] Orpheus, in his Ar- 
gonautics, nearly agrees with this account, vefc 
650, et seq. — * Tiphys commands them to unmoor 
the vessel, they obey the directions of their piHt. 


Polyphemus, son of Elatiis, ascends the mountain^ 
top, that he may call Alcides quickly to the ship. 
He meets him not, for it was not decreed by fate 
that the mighty Hercules should reach the plea- 
sant stream of Phasis.' Aristotle, (book iv. c. 13.) 
* De repuhliccL^' gives a very different accoimt. 
He says, that the hero aspired to the chief com- 
mand of the expedition, and was unwilhng to act 
under the command of Jason, — he, w ho so far sur- 
passed all the Argonauts in prowess ; and that, for 
this reason, the Argonauts left him behind design- 
edly. A^-yovauTa? cDtalaXtTrsiv tov H^aKXrja ^ta 
ToiauTnv aiTiav, &c. Valerius Flaccus imitates 
this passage, book iii. 1. 719. 

11^68. Contention.'] Among the Argonauts, each 
accusing the other of being accessary to the fatal 
precipitation, by which they were deprived of the 
presence and assistance of Hercules. This gives 
a high idea of the hero. 

1975. Fury Telamon, ^c] The speech of Tela- 
mon is natural, and highly characteristic. The 
father is represented in much the same manner by 
our poet, as his son Ajax is depicted by Homer ; 
a plain rough soldier, not overburdened with 
thought or reflection, dauntless in courage, preci- 
pitate in temper, blunt and uncourtly in speech, 
generous and candid in his nature. The whole 
passage, in the original, is a noble instance of the 
poetic skill of Apollonius. The rage and impe- 
tuosity of Telamon are admirably contrasted with 
the deep reflecting anguish, the mild patience and 
dignity of sorrow, exhibited by Jason. Telamon 
had particular causes to dispose him to ill temper, 
and render him suspicious and irritable on this oj:- 


casion. He was nearly connected in blood with 
Hercules ; he had been brought up with him from 
his birth ; he had accompanied him through many 
of his labours j he had sailed with him to Troy ; 
assisted him in his war with the Amazons ; and 
aided him to kill Alcyoneus, who carried off the 
oxen of the sun. Theocritus speaks of the friend- 
ship between Alcides and Telamon, and says they 
had one board : 

It was natural, therefore, that Telamon, jealous 
for the fame of his friend and kinsman, and im- 
pressed with great ideas of his importance and the 
superior energy of his character, might suppose 
that had he shared in the Argonautic enterprise, 
he would have borne away great part of the glory 
of it. Under such a persuasion, he was justifiable 
in suspecting that the Argonauts had designedly 
left Hercules behind, and in ascribing such a con- 
duct to envy and jealousy. Though Apollouius 
relates, that Hercules was left behind at Cius in 
this manner; Dionysius of Mitylene (says the 
Greek scholiast) asserts, that he sailed with the 
Argonauts to Colchos. Herodotus denies that he 
sailed at all on the voyage. Hesiod, in his ' Mar- 
riage of Ceyx,' relates, that the hero having gone 
on shore for water, on the coast of Magnesia, was 
left behind, at a place which, from that incident, 
took the name of Alphetae, from a Greek verb 
which signifies ' to let go.' Ephorus tells us, that 
Hercules was left behind at his own desire, on 
account of his attachment to Omphale, queen of 
Lydia. — See Greek scholiast. 


1982. Gain their native^ ^c] There is peculiar 
art in the dwelling rather on the moment of their 
expected return, than on the present. It is cal- 
culated to excite the indignation of his hearers, 
and impress them with the enormity of Jason's 
conduct. He intimates, that the safety and return 
of the Argonauts to their homes are connected 
with the presence of Alcides, and insinuates, that 
Jason, by giving way to his envy, and basely leav- 
ing the hero behind, had compromised the safety 
of his companions. — Gr. Scho. 

1991. Twinn'd offspring.'] ' Calais and Zetes, 
the sons of Boreas, the rhracian wind.' He says 
Thracian, because Thrace lay to the north of 
Greece, and was considered as a cold and bleak 
country in respect of it. 

1995. Ill-fated.] Semos (as quoted by the Greek 
scholiast) ascribes the enmity of Hercules to his 
having been conquered in tlie race by the sons of 
Boreas. Stesimbrotus says, (see ibid.) that tiiey 
had a contest with the hero, about the presents 
which were given by Jason to the chiefs of the 
Argonauts. Nicander the Colophonian, in the first 
book of his ^teics, (see ibid.) says, that Boreas 
was the cause of the death of his sons, by detain- 
ing Hercules, on his return, at the isle of Cos. — - 
Vide Gr. Scho. 

1999. Terns.] An island adjacent to Delos. Re- 
specting the tombs of Calais and Zetes, Hyginus 
writes, in conformity with our poet, (lib. i. fa. 14.) 

Quorum in tttmulis superpositi lapidet 
t'iatibus paternis moventur. 


2006. Amid the furious waves.] The appearance 
of Glaucus is opportune. He rises from the deep 
on one of those occasions, dignus vindice noduSj 
vyhere the poet is held excusable in resorting to 
supernatural means. The whole Argonautic ex- 
pedition was in danger of nnscarrying, through the 
dissension of the leaders, and no ordinary means 
might have been sufficient to appease their dis- 

i'0()7 . Glaucus'} Was the son of Polybus, an Anthe- 
donian by birth, ( \nthedon was a city of Boeotia, 
and is mentioned by Homer,) and a fisherman by 
profession. Having taken a vast quantity of fish 
at one time, he was conveying them awayj and 
finding himself tired on the road, laid down his 
burden to rest himself. Meantime, one of tlie 
fishes having accidentally bit a certain herb which 
had the power of conferring immortality, revived, 
and showed great signs of life and energy. Glau- 
cus, seeing this, ate some of the same plant, and 
became immortal. Arriving at extreme old age, 
and being wearj' of existence, he threw himself 
into the sea, where he was exalted to the rank of 
a manne deity. There is a certain fish, called 
from him Glaucus. — See Gr. Scho. 

2013. For him in Argos.'] It shcald appear, from 
the context, that Hercules had embarked with the 
Argonauts, before he undertook the famous la- 
bours imposed on him by Eurystheus. 

2019. Polyphemus.'] He founded, as is mention- 
ed in the text, tlie city of Ki(^, or Cius ; ntar 
which was a little river, anciently called Hy'as : 
probably in memory of the youth beloved by 


Hercules. It is now but a village, contaiuing two 
cr three thousand souls, and is called Ghemlek. by 
the Turks, who have here dock-yards, where they 
construct men of war. Near this city, in the year 
of the Lord 193, was fought a great battle, be- 
tween Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger, 
wliicii decided the sovereignty of Rome. 

t'OiS. Chalyhean-I The Ciialybes were a people 
of Scythia, in battle with whom Polyphemus, here 
mentioned as tiie companion of Hercules, was 

iOSO. The generous Telamon.] This is highly 
beautiful. The ardent and impetuous character 
of Telamon is equally seen in his quarrel with Ja- 
son, and his reconciliation with that hero. The 
plusquamperfect tense is happily used, in the ori- 
ginal text, to show the suddenness of the impulse, 
and the instantaneous action, with which Telamon 
bad advanced to Jason. The frankness with which 
the gallant Telamon apologizes to Jason for his 
condiict, and the generous manner in which Jason 
receives his apology, and endeavours to account 
for and extenuate the harsh language Telamon had 
employed, render this passage peculiarly deiight- 
ful and interesting. There is uncommon delicacy 
and elegance in the speech of Jason, which is well 
contrasted with the plain blunt sally of Teiamon. 
In the speech of Jason there is a strain of manly 
politeness and retincd address, which would not 
disgrace a hero of the French theatre, in the gol- 
den d^ys of Corneille and Racine. 

2070. Men of Truchin.'] A city of Thes^aly, 
founded by Hercules^ and sometimes called from 


him Heraclea : here Sophocles has laid the scenft 
of the chief part of his tragedy of the Trachiniae, 
the subject of which is the death of Hercules. 
The people had an annual procession, it seems, in- 
tended to commemorate the search for Hylas : it 
was introduced among them, says the poet, by the 
Mysian hostages, who were carried away by Her- 
cules, and brought by him to Thessaly. 



Line 1. There.'] That is to say, near the shore 
at which the Argonauts touched. See Valerius 
Flaccus, lib. iv. ver. 99. See too Virgil, ^n. v. — 
Ovid, Metam. lib. xii. The poets represent the 
Bebrycians as enemies of strangers, pirates, and 
cannibals. They inhabited the maritime part of 
Bithynia,and even some part of the coast of Lydia, 
as far as Ephesus. The region assigned to the 
Bebryces was, at all times, remarkable for piracies. 
Charon asserts, that die country of the Lampsaceni 
was originally called Bebrycia; from a colony of 
that people, who were at length completely exter- 
minated in war. We know how formidable the 
Cilician pirates became in the time of the Roman 

4. Melia.] The Greek scholium on this passage 
starts a doubt, whether the term Bithynis or Melia, 
in the text, is the proper name. Brunck will have 
it, that Bithynis is a proper name (Ad Ap.) But 
the learned Heinsius, in his note on the sixth elegy 


of the third book of the * Amores' of Ovid, reads^ 
Koci MiXir\; /3i^yvi5:^.' Hyginus, lib. i. fab. 17, 
says, Amijcus NepUmiy et Melies filius, Bebrycies 
rex. And Valerius Flaccus, book iv. ver. 119, makes 
Melie a proper name. Bebrycia is the same with 
Bitliynia. But Strabo tliinks, that the Bebryces, 
who before possessed Mysia, were a colony from 
Thrace. — Oxf. edit. 

20. My prowess.'] Virgil, in his fifth book, ver. 
57i, takes notice of the skill of Aniycus in com- 
bats with the cestus; when he represents Dares 
vaunting of a victory over Butes, one of the 
descendants of Amycus. 

33. Undaunted.'] The word in the text is cctcyiXs- 
ytac, this the Greek scholiast explains c-fvlo/xa;?, 
briefly; but the scholiast of Homer gives kcc^Ib^ooc, 
a sense better suiting the context, and conduct of 
Pollux, in this place. — See note of Oxf. ed. 

36. The Hon.] The circumstance of the lion 
despising the crowd opposed to him, and only 
flying at the hunter who had wounded him, is very 
finely imagined. 

54. Fell Typhaus.] The same with the Typhon 
of the Egyptians. So Milton: 

The giant brood, 
Titanian, or earth-born, who warr'd with Jove. 

^7. Star.] Valerius Flaccus, book iv. ver. 190. 

says : 

Sidereo Pollux interritus ore. 

Tiiis simile is wonderfully beautiful and apposite. 
The brightness and fixedness of the star are ex- 
pressive at once of the beauty and intrepidity of 


Oie young liero. The lustre of the star shows the 
graceful serenity of the Grecian, as opposed to 
the dark malice and brutal ferocity of the barba- 
rian. The (pxi^^f^ ix. ofjiixoca-i, of the text is imi- 
tated by Virgil, lEn. i. L<£tos oculis ajiarat 

64. Moves his hands.] Dares is described with 
a similar bravado in Virgil, JEn. v. ver. "376. 

82. Crashing jaws.] Contrast has always a (ine 
and striking effect, either in poetry or painting. 
No writer understood the power of this part of 
composition better than ApoUonius ; and none 
has employed it more successfully. The passage 
before us is a fine instance of the power of con- 
trast, and happy effect of situation. The boastive 
and brutal behaviour of the turbulent Amycus. 
who is represented as advanced in years, is most 
dramatically contrasted with the mild intrepidity, 
the modest courage, and silent resolution of the 
youthful Pollirx. 

100. The vessel buoyant.'] Valerius Flaccus em- 
ploys the same simile, to illustrate the same sub- 
ject, book iv. ver. 270. 

Spumanti qualis in alto 

Pleide capta ratis trepidi qua?n sola magistri 
Cura tenet rayidiim ventis certantibns aquor 
Intemerata secat : Pollux sic providus ictus 

Here the Latni poet is much inferior to the 
Grecian. Rupklum is a strange epithet, as appliecf 
to the sea, in this place, and trepidi magistri ia 
Very unfortunately employed, where it was the 
business of the poet to illustrate the intrepidity 
of PoUux. 


126. Two bulls.] Ovid Metam. lib. ix. ver. 46; 
uses this simile : 

Non aliter fortes vidi concurrere tauros 
Cum pretium pugnce toto nitidissima saltu 
Exyetitur conjux. 

Virgil introduces tliis comparison, in his descrip. 
tion of the combat of ^neas and Turnus; but he 
has wonderfully improved and beautified it, lib. 
xii. ver. 715. 

140. Death of Amycus.'] Some accounts differ 
from this ; and say, that Amycus was not slain, 
but made prisoner and bound. Such was the 
account of Epicharmus and Pisander. — Vid. Schol. 
and see Heyne in ApoUodorum, notae, Pars i. 
p. 189. 

141. Through the Behrycians, ^c] Valerius 
Flaccus relates this transaction somewhat differ- 
ently, (lib. iv. ver. 415) and, in ray opinion, more 
naturally, considering the ferocious character of 
Amycus. He says the Bebrycians showed no 
attachment to him : 

Nullus adempti 

Regis atnor. Montem celeres sylvamque capessuni. 

Deilochus, in his first book, TTs^i kv^^kh, agrees 
with our poet. — Vid. Scho. 

The combat of Amycus.] Virgil has, in great 
measure, imitated, from the preceding passage, 
his description of the combat of Dares and Entel- 
lus. We find an exact similitude in many of the 
circumstances and details of the fight : as, for 
instance, the difference in the bulk and age of the 


combatants. Tlie translator owns himself inade- 
quate to do justice to the original. He confesses 
himself to be wholly unskilled in the subject of 
which it treats, and could have wished to have 
availed himself of the science of some amateur 
and critic in the pugilistic art. 

Stood raised, 8fc.] So Virgil, iEneid v. ver. 426. 

174. Embattled wolves, ^c] The simile, in the 
original, is very expressive of the fierceness of the 
Argonauts, and the crowded numbers and con- 
sternation of the Bebrycians, heaped together and 
overthrown, even by their very fears. Apollonins, 
no doubt, had in view the passage of Homer's 
Iliad, v. ver. 141. The accounts given us of the 
coming down of wolves, in the winter season, in 
the neighbourhood of the Alps and Pyrenees, 
show the truth and nature of tlie description in 
the text. There is a very fine passage in Thom- 
son's Seasons, (Winter) representing the coming 
down of wolves, which illustrates the simile be- 
fore us. Orpheus, in his Argonautics, (ver. 656, 
et seq.) agrees with the narrative of our poet. 

EvS' AfxvK^ ^f^f ox£«-(r*v uTTf 5<f>»aXo»o-«v aya<ra-iv, &c. 

The foregoing comparison of the Bebrycians to 
sheep, is defective in one respect. No doubt, the 
timid nature of the sheep, and the circumstance 
of the flocks being crowded together, express the 
numbers and fears of the Bebrycians ; but the 
gentle and harmless nature of the sheep, is little 
applicable to a people who, like the Bebrycians, 
are represented as lawless and impious. 
183. IVith piercing smokeJ] Virgil has imitated 


tliis simile, ^neid xii. ver. 587. So Lycophronj 
ver. SJ93 : 

196. Mariandijni.'] The sons of Phineus, by 
Cleopatra, were Parthenins and Crambis ; by 
Id»a, the daughter of Dardanus, or some Scythian 
concubine, Thymus and Mariandynus ; from whom 
certain tribes of Asia Minor derived their names. 
Others say, that the Mariandyni were so called, 
from Mariandynus, the son of Cimmejias. — Gr. 

199. The fall of Amt/ciis.] They were embold- 
ened to this inroad by the death of Amycus. 
' Absent,' in the text, means that he was defunct, 
or no more — by the removal of Amvcus. — See 
Oxf. ed. 

213. Too late the Greeks.} Imitated by Valerius 
Flaccus. Speaking of the challenge of Amycus, 
he says : 

Redit AlcidcEJam sero cupl'io 

Et vacuos mcesto lustrarum liimine moiitss. 

221. Taiuny.'] Every reader must feci the pro- 
priety of the epithet |ay3^, as applied to the bay 
or laurel, to express the yellowish creen. This 
account (says the Greek seholiast) is no poetic 
fiction of ApoUonius ; since, in reality, there grew 
on the shore, (as Andretus of Tenedos relates, ia 
his Periplns of the Propontis) a very large laureh 
The place, according to him, is still called Amycus^ 
and is distant from Chalcedonhi"j Nymphaeumr 
mbout five stadii. 


^'iS. Measur'd hymn-l See Horace, Odes, lib. i. 
ode 12, and Val. Flac. lib. iv. 

226. Son of Jove.l Pollux. — In the original, it 
is * Therapnzean son ;' an epithet drawn from 
Therapnee, a city of Laconia, according to some ; 
or, according to others, a place sacred to Apollo. 
Tiie scholiast seems to be of opinion, that the 
hymn here alluded to was addressed to Apollo. 
Valerius Flaccus intimates, that this hymn was in 
honour of the victory obtained by Pollux : and 
this, in my opinion, is the more probable supposi- 

232. Bosporus.] Literally, ' The passage of the 
Dx or cow.' This strait is so called, from the pas- 
sage of lo (whilst she was under the form of an 
heifer) from Europe into Asia. In process ot 
time, the same appellation came to be applied to 
other narrow channels of the same kind. Thus, 
there is another strait, called the Cimmerian Bos- 
porus, from the Cimmerii; a people of Scytliia, 
who inhabited the adjacent shores. Nymphis re- 
lates, from Acarion, that the Phrygians, who first 
navigated these straits, employed a ship which 
bore the ensign of a bull, as Phryxus did one 
which bore the form of a ram ; and that hence 
came the fable, of an ox or cow passing over, and 
the appellation of the Bosporus. Ephorus relates, 
that lo, having been carried off by the Phenicians, 
and conveyed to Egypt, the king of that country 
sent a bull to Hercules, as a gift or peace-offering, 
in return for his daugliter ; and that the name of 
Bospori was derived from the course taken by 
those who conveyed this present. There were 

VOL. in. u 


t*vo Bospori ; the Thracian or Mysian, and tJie 
Cimmerian. Olivier, in liis travels, describes the 
Bosporus thus : ' The channel, anciently known 
by the name of the Bosporus, is near seven leagues 
in length, and not two miles in its greatest width. 
It is so narrow, in many parts, that ancient authors 
have advanced, that a person may hear the birds 
sing from one shore to the other, and two men 
hold a conversation across the channel.' The 
Bosporus here mentioned by the traveller is that 
of Thrace. 

245. Wretched Phineus.l He was the son of 
Agenor, according to Hellanicus ; according to 
Hesiod, the son of Phoenix, the son of Agenor 
and Cassiopeia. With him agree Asclepiades, 
Antimachus, and Phcrecydes. By Cassiopeia, the 
daughter of Arabus, Phoenix had three sons, Cilix, 
Phineus, and Doriclus ; and Atyrainus nominally, 
who w as, in reality, the son of Jupiter ; and was 
blinded by Apollo, because he, being asked his 
opinion, preferred longevity to sight. Sophocles 
relates, that Phineus was punished with blindness, 
because he deprived his two sons by Cleopatra of 
sight; at the instigation of Dia, their step-mother. 
Some think it improbable that Phineus, being the 
son of Phoenix, the son of Agenor, could have 
lived so many generations as to have reached the 
time of the Argonauts; and would have it, that the 
Phineus, who had an interview with the Argo- 
nauts, was another Phineus, the seventh from 
Phoenix. Hesiod attributes the misfortune of 
Phineus to his having assisted Phrjxus, ApoUo- 
rA-js a?cribes it to his having too openly revealed 

NOTES ON nOOK If. 103 

the will of fate to all inquirers. The fables respect- 
ing Phineus have been varied in a wonderful 
manner. They were at first treated in the stories 
of the Argonautic expedition, and the labours of 
Hercules. They were afterwards brought on the 
stage. Phineus was made the subject of a dran)a, 
both by iEschylus and Sophocles. — See Diodorus, 
iv. 43, 44, and Heyne in Apollod. not. 190. 

259. Harpy brood.] Virgil, /En. iii. ver. <2^5, 
desciibes the Harpies : 

Jf subUa korrlfico lapsu dc inontihus adsunt 
HarpyieB et magnis qvatiunt clangoribus alas. 

Hesiod writes, that Phineus was himself carried 
off by the Harpies. This account is quoted by 
Strabo, in his seventh book — Tov 'H^-tooov ^i iv rr\ 
koc/Kbuivi] yn<; ttzoio^o^ rov (^moc vtto ruiv ApTrviwv 
ocyia-jxi. — rXayjoi^aywv £tj ociccv cx.'rrnvocig oix.i 
IxovTtjjy. Meaning, not that Hesiod wrote a 
poem called Tn; -KTcpjoJo,-, but that this verse of 
Hesiod is preserved in a work of that name, the 
author of which was Eudoxus. — See Heyne in 
Apoliod. not. 191, 492. 

Valerius Flaccus, iv. ver, 515 and 199, makes 
Typhon the father of the Harpies; thereby inti- 
mating the oriirin of the name of Harpies from 
vehement whirlwind. For we are not to suppose 
the imagination of the Greek poets so very wild 
and wanton, as to feign things arbitrarily, v.ithout 
any support or origin whatsoever in historic truth, 
or appearances of nature. 

287. Regaining breath.] Dionysiu*, in his Argo- 
nauts, relates, that Phineus was kiiUd by Hercules; 


wlio observed that his cliildren were in a desolate 
state, having been expelled by him, through the 
suggestions of a Scythian woman, whom he had 
married in the place of Cleopatra, repudiated by 
him. Hercules killed him with a blow of his foot. 
(Gr. Scho.) Orpheus differs from our poet mate- 
rially. — See Orphei Argonaut, ver. 669. He re- 
lates, that Phineus had deprived his sons of sight, 
and exposed them to be devoured by wild beasts ; 
and, that the sons of Boreas restored these unfor- 
tunate youths to sight, and deprived their unna- 
tural father of that sense : 

EvS'a lo?' ttivoyaju^ (pivfff vTtsD-nvooi ^vixw 
Aoja? i^aXaujcri yoyyg woo^X>jo-i t? -sralsaij, &c. 

Cleopatra, whom Phineus is said to have married, 
and repudiated after she had borne him children, 
was the daughter of Boreas and Orithyia, and 
sister of Calais and Zetes. Hence, we may 
account for the resentment of the sons of Boreas. 
386. Zephyj'^s blast.} So in Homer : 

NWJ h Mil 5t£V tt|Ua OTV0i»1 ^i^V^OiO ^lOlfXlV 

Tov t«r£g {"kafPolaTOV <pay' tiJ(.fJt,ivai, 

o87. As when sagacious, ^c] Virgil has imitated 
ibis passage, ^Eneid xii. ver, 749. The other cir- 
tumstances in this comparison are borrowed from 
a simile in Homer's Iliad, xxii. It is observable, 
that the natural description of the hound snapping 
at his prey, increpuit malis morsu elusus inani, 
belongs entirely to our poet — {jlocI^v «§ajSno-av 

397. Plotcean.'] These are islands in the part of 


the sea adjoining Sicily. Tliey seem to have had 
their name of Plotze, either from their being over- 
flowed by the waves, or from their being driven 
about by waves and winds. They were also, it 
seems, called by some Calydnae. — See Gr. Scho. 

413. Stropkades.] They are called, from the 
Greek verb sti-ephein, which signifies ' to turn;' 
because there the sons of Boreas turned back from 
chasing the Harpies : Hesiod says, it was Hermes 
turned back the sons of Boreas, not Iris, from this 

422. Chosen victims.l The religion of ancient 
times made it necessary to reserve the best of the 
flocks and the herds for the altar. Tbus Saul 
speaks, 1 Samuel, chap. xv. when, being sent to 
smite Araalek, he spared the best of the sheep 
and the oxen. * The people spared the best of 
the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice unto the 
Lord.' — It was necessary, that these victims should 
be free from spot or blemish, and perfect in all 
their limbs; otherwise, they were held unfit obla- 
tions for the gods. 

427. Eager he shar'd.] This is a very afitcting 
scene, and dehneated in the most lively manner. 
Our poet is never more happy than when he is 
employed in exhibiting such pathetic subjects. 

4<^8. Blissful dreams.] This circumstance is very 
fine, and highly in nature. The delight of Phineus, 
who had been so long inured to misery, was so 
sudden and so great, that he could hardly persuade 
himself his comforts were real, and that he was 
not under the influence of a pleasing vision. The 
mind, accustomed to disappointment and sorrow, 
is prone to despond ; and slow to believe what it 


most intensely desires. So, in the seventh liiad^ 
when tlie Trojans find that Hector comes off safe 
from the combat with Ajax, they are described 


446. Cyanea's rocks-l These rocks were called 
the Symple^^ades. They had this name from their 
colour. See a preceding note, book i. 

457. First, let a dove.'] This experiment, by 
letting fly the dove, reminds us of the circumstance 
of Noah's letting loose the dove from the ark. 
The Oxford editor thinks it probable, that this 
trial of sending the dove before them, might have 
given the hint to Virgil of introducing the dove 
in the sixth iEneid, which leads his hero to the 
golden bough. See, with respect to this fable, 
Apollodorus, book i. cap. 21 and 22 : — and Hygi- 
nus, book i. fable 19, which is too long to be here 
transcribed. The foregoing description of the 
rocks is very similar to a passage in the Odyssey, 
book xii. ver. 71 : 

High o'er the main two rocks erect their brow. 
The boiling billows thundering roll below; 
Through the vast waves the fireadt'ul wonders move, 
Hence, nam'd erratic by tlic gods above. 
Scarce the fann'd Argo pass'd these rapid floods, 
The sacred Argo fill'd with demi gods. 
Ev'n she had s^unk, but Jove's imperial bride 
Wing'd her fleet sail, and push'd her o'er the side. 

It is observed, in the note on this passage, ' That 
Homer, to render his poetry more marvellous, 
joins what has been related of the Symplegades, 
to the description of Scylla and Charjbdis. The 
story of the dove being reported of the Symple^ 
gades, might give him the hint of applying the 


ciushiug of the doves to Scylla and Charybdis.' 
hilt we must remember, that Argo passeJ, in her 
return, through Scylla aud Ciiaiybdis ) and that 
Apollonius, as well as Homer, has mentioned these 
rocks by the name of tX.x-ykIxi, ' erratic,' whicli 
is supposed to be more strictly applicable to the 
Symplegades. If t'ae Cyanean rocks were called 
Symplcgades, fioni their jnstling together, ancj 
that appearance was caused by the dilTeicnt views 
in which they were seen, sometimes in a direct 
line, sometimes obliquely, why might not Scylla 
and Charybdis, for the same reason, be said to 
justle togetlier, and consequently, without impro- 
priety, be called TrXo-yxIxj, or ' erratic?' Minerva, 
according to Apollonius, guided Argo through the 
Symplegades; but her course, through Scylla and 
Charybdis, was directed by Thetis, at the inter- 
cession of Juno, agreeable to what Homer here 
mentions. (See note on the passage subjoined 
to I'awkes's version) and Heyne in ApoUod. not. 
p 197. The dove, which returned to Noah with 
a leaf of olive, and brought the first tidings that 
the waters of the deep were assuaged, was con- 
sidered, by many nations, as sacred : it was looked 
upon as a peculiar messenger of the deity, an 
emblem of peace and good fortune. Among 
mariners it was thought to be particularly auspi» 
cions ; who, as they sailed, used to let a dove fiy 
from tiieir ships, to judge of the success of their 
voyage. The most favourable season for setting 
sail, was the heliacal rising of the seven stars, 
near tlie head of Taurus ; and they are, in conse- 
quence of it, called Pleiades. It was at their 
appearance, that the Argonauts set out upon thei? 


expedition. 'Afxo.; ^t ocvrikXovn YliXuahg. — 
Theoc. Id. xiii. ver 25, ' When first the Pleiades 
appear;' and this was thought a fortunate time for 
navigation in general. * The Argonauts, in a time 
of difficulty and danger, made the experiment of 
letting a dove fly, and formed from it a fortunate 
presage. Bryants Myth. vol. ii. p. 28. It is the 
opinion of many learned men, that the science of 
augury, or of predicting future events by the flight 
of birds, arose from the dismission of the raven 
and the dove, from Noah's ark, at the time of the 
Deluge. This species of divination is undoubtedly- 
very ancient : it is mentioned in many places of 
the Old Testament, and made a considerable part 
of the religion of the Heathen world. 

464. Each exertion has, SjX.] One cannot much 
commend our author's discretion in this place. 
There is something inartificial in the long descrip^ 
live speeches which he introduces. Orpheus, in 
his Argonautics, ver. 682, gives a noble description 
of these wandering rocks; 'A? [xot voli ju^lrp 
s/AElspjj KaliXi^s -nrsptfPpwv KaXXtoTraa, &c. 

479. Hithynian shores.'] After passing the island 
of Phineus, Bithynia lies on the right hand, or 
Asiatic side of the Bosporus. On the left, Salmy- 
dessus, belonging to the savage Thracians. It was 
close to the entrance into the Euxine sea, on the 
left hand. Yet this, as professor Heyne justly 
observes, does not tally well with the course of 
navigation of the Argonauts; since, pursuing their 
voyage after this, they are said to arrive at the 
Cyanean rocks. See Hygin. fa. 19. — Heyne in 
Apollod. not. p. 190. 

488. Mariandyni.'] Euphorion relates, tliat the 


territory of the Mariandyni was peopled by a 
colony of tiie Boeotians, led by Gnesiochus the 
Ma;;nesian. The river Acheron flows through this 
district into tiie sea. 

495. Felops.'] In the original, * Enetian Pelops.' 
In his catalogue, book ii. of II. Homer agrees 
"Witli our author : 

Ef kvBrwv. 

They were also called Caucones. Some assert, 
that Pelops was originally a native of Lydia, and 
not of Paphlagonia. — Gr. Scho. 

499. Carambis.'] This was a lofty promontory, 
extending into the sea, over against Paphiagonia, 
and stretching towards the north. Ephorus speaks 
of it in his fourth book. — Gr. Scho. 

504. tialys.] This was a river of Paphiagonia, 
which the oracle of Apollo directed Croesus to 
guard. This river Hows between Paphiagonia and 
Syria, or Cappadocia. Some derive its name of 
Halys, from its being swallowed up by the ground 
for some space. Dionysius Periegetes speaks of 

lu i' «ir»/xof/.tuja(r» foai 'AXooj tB-olafxo«o, &c. 

According to other writers, it took the name of 
Halys from the quantities of fossil salt with which 
the country round is impregnated. — Tlie propriety 
of this derivation of the name, is confirmed by the 
observations of modern travellers. Tournefort, 
in his voyage to the Levant, informs us, that lumps 
of salt were to be found in all the roads, and in 
every furrow, in this part of the country. The 


same quality has been observed in tlie soil, in thf» 
interior of Africa. 

509. As, pressing onward, ^c] Arrian, in his 
Periplus, speaking of this part of the coast, men- 
tions a port called Ancon (probably from its form), 
to which, perhaps, our poet here alludes. 

519. Chalybes.] The Chalybes were a Scythian 
people, near the river Thermodon. Doias and 
Alcmon were two brothers ; of what father is un- 
certain. The three towns of the Amazons, adjoin- 
ing the plain of Doias, were called I<ycastia, The- 
miscyra, and Chalybis. — See the Greek scholiast. 

5'i2. Hospitable.] Jupiter Xenius had a temple 
on the Genetcean headland, which took its name 
from the river Genes. — Gr. Scho. 

526. Mossyn^ci.'] Houses of wood were called 
Mossyni : hence, this tribe took their appellation, 
— Dionysius Periegetes speaks of them, ver. 767. 
Pomponius Mela, lib. i. cap. 20, says of this peo- 
ple : MossyncBci turres ligneas subeunt, notis corpus 
umne persigndnty in propatulo vescuntur. 

528. An isle, ^c] This isle was called Aretias. 
The birds that haunted it were called Stympha- 
lides; from Stymphalus, a lake and city of Arca» 
dia, which were desolated by them, until they were 
chased thence by Hercules. 

535. On warfare bound, ^c] Otrera and An- 
tiope were two queens of the Amazons. It is not 
known what was the object of the expedition al- 
luded to by the poet, and whither it was directed. 

537. Unexpected source.] Virgil has imitated this 
passage, iEneid vi. ver. 96. 

539. But, whither have J stray' d?] This sudden 
lireaking off, and withholding the promised a»dl 


expected discovery, is very judicious. The poet 
thus avoids too full an anticipation of iiis narra- 
tive, and keeps up the curiosity and attention of 
the reader, in some measure. 

542. Phihjrcan, (^f.] The Philyraeans took their 
name from Philyra, the daughter of Ocean, ^vho 
was the mother 6f the centaur Chiron, by Saturn. 

543. Macrones, ll^c.'\ A Scythian tribe, who were 
originally a colony from Euboea, and took their 
name from Macris, a town of that island. The 
Bechiri were also a Scythian race. The Sapires 
were another Scythian tribe, so called, (quasi Sa- 
phires) from the precious stone, the sapphire; 
which, it seems, abounded in their district. 

565. Thus he.] The speech of Jason is very just 
and natural. Two things he properly and ration- 
ally desires to learn from Phineus ; first, what 
course he was to pursue, after having passed the 
Symplegades; and next, after having passed over 
such an extent of sea, how he was to penetrate 
into the midst of Colchis. 

575. Colchian.] Mdi was a city of Colchos. It 
was said, by a poetical hyperbole, to be in earth's 
remotest bound ; to signify that it w as far distant, 
in the Odyssey, /^, Ulysses speaks in the same 
manner, in his conversation with Nausicaa. 

619. Alternate thus.] So Virgil, i^n. vi. ver. 535. 

Hue vice sermanum rosels Aurora quadrigis. 

629. Parebius.] Phineus had told Parebius, long 
before t!ie arrival of the Argonauts, that a band 
of heroes were to come from Greece, who should 
chase away tlie Harpies. 


635. Thyjiis.'] This was a place at the mouth of 
the Bosporus. It was properly a part of Thrace. 

637. The rest.} That is to say, the different per- 
sons that came to consult Phineus, from the sur- 
rounding country. 

639. Parebius only.] The account of Parebius 
in tlie subsequent verses, his gi^teful attentions 
to the blind old prophet, and tiie affectionate man- 
ner in which Phineus speaks of him, are highly 
interesting and pleasing. Much of the same ten- 
derness pervades the interview of iEneas and He- 
lenus in Virgil. 

652. His father's sins.'] The idea of visiting the 
sins of the father upon the heads of his children 
is not peculiar to the Jewish dispensation ; but is 
very generally found in all the ancient writers. 

656. Tree coeval.] The name of Hamadryad, 
from ajLta simul, and 5^yj, quercus, is derived from 
the circumstance of the nymph being coeval with 
the tree. Charon of Lanipsacus (says the scho- 
liast) relates, that a person named Rhaecus, hav- 
ing observed an oak decayed, nearly uprooted, 
and ready to fall, called to his sons to prop and 
support it. The nymph, whose fate was con- 
nected with the tree, and who had been about to 
perish, appeared to Rhaecus ; and having expressed 
her gratitude, offered to grant him, in return, any 
wish he should form. He asked to be admitted 
to her society, and favoured with her love ; a re- 
quest which was granted, on the condition of his 
abstaining from the company of all other females, 
under a severe penalty and denunciations of ven- 
geance. It was settled between them, that a bee 


should be the messenger of their amorous inter- 
course. Rhcecus was unfortunately tempted to 
transgress the compact ; and tlie bee, wlio was 
present at tlie time, flew to acquaint the Hama- 
dryad, that he was unfaithful. The nymph, in a 
fit of resentment and jealousy, deprived him of 
sight. Pindar, speaking of the Hamadryad nymph, 

The Hamadryads were supposed to live or die, to 
fade or flourish, to pine or rejoice, with their ap- 
propriated plant. See Callimachus, Hymn to De- 
los, ver. 80 : a passage which Apollonius seems 
to have imitated in the lines under consideration : 

The Oxford editor conjectures, that Virgil might 
have had the passage of the text in view when he 
introduced the fable of Polydorus, jEneid, lib. iii. 
It was not, it seems, to all kinds of trees promis- 
cuously that the Hamadryads were attached. The 
reader, who wishes for full information on this 
subject, will find it by resorting to the notes of 
Spanheim, on the lines of CalUmachus above men- 
tioned. The simpUcity and pathos of tliis little 
episode are inexpressibly beautiful in the original. 

670. Ohlations.l In the original Au^yho,. It is 
a metaphor, taken from animals when tliey are un- 
yoked and lay aside their burdens. 

689. Etesian gales.] In the digression in this 
passage, the poet gives us the fabulous origin of 
'^he Etesian breezes, which, he says, were sent by 


Jove, in compliance with the prayers of x'Vristaen 
TliC Etesian winds begin to blow when the s(\!i 
enters on the latter half of Cancer, and continue 
until he has passed through Leo 5 thus Aratus: 

Tyifj.@^ -/Mt xsXn^ovTa; Ersariat lu^i'i Tio;"7n:, &c. — Gr. Scho. 

Aristsens was the son of Cyrene, the daughter of 
Hypseus and Apollo. He first discovered, in Cos, 
the arts of keeping bees and obtaining honey, and 
of making oil. Pindar, in his Pythian odes, re- 
lates, that Cyrene, when a virgin, used to hunt 
with Apollo ; and having, at one time, encoun- 
tered a lion, she won tiie affections of the god ; 
who carried her away to that part of Libya, which 
now, from her, bears the name of Cyrene, or Cy- 
renaica ; though Mnaseas writes, that she came to 
Libya of her own accord. Pherecydes asserts, 
that she was wafted by swans to Libya, by the 
directions of Apollo. AgraBtas, in the first book 
of his Lybics, says, that Cyrene was first conveyed 
by Apollo to Crete, and after to Libya. Acestor, 
in his history of Cyrene, tells us, that wlien Eury- 
pylus reigned in Libya, Cyrene was conveyed thi- 
ther by Apollo, and the country being then ra- 
vaged by a lion, Eurypylus offered the kingdom 
as the prize of the person who should destroy it. 
Cyrene destroyed the monster, and obtained the 
crown. She had two sons, Autuchus and Aris- 
tjeus. Cyrene had a sister, named Larissa, from 
whom the town of Thessaly, so called, took its 
name. Some writers (as Bacchylides, for instance,) 
reckon up four persons of the name of Aristceus. 
One, the con of Carystus ; a second, the son of 


Chiron; a third, the son of Terra and Coehim; a 
fourth, the son of Cyrene.— Gr. Scho. 

697. jEinunia-l Thessaly ; so called from iEmon, 
the son of Mars. Others derive this name from 
the blackness of the soil. 

70 i. Agreus — Nomius.'} These were properly 
names of Apollo. Aristaeus was called Agreus, 
because the scene of the loves of Apollo and Cy- 
rene was in the woodland haunts, amid the pur- 
suits of the chase. Nomius, because the nymph 
was taken, and carried away, as she was feeding 
her flocks. — Pindar, Pythian Ode, ix. 

Almost all the principal persons, whose names 
occur in the mythology of Greece and Italy, were 
shepherds. It is reported of the Muses, that they 
were of shepherd extraction, and tended flocks, 
which they intrusted to their favourite Aristeeus, 
whom Yirgil styles Pastor. The connections of 
poetry and song, with the pastoral life and its in- 
nocent delights, are thus figuratively intimated. 

714. Athamantian plain.'] A plain nearly oppo- 
site Halonesus. It took its name from Athamas, 
who inhabited that island. 

718. Cydades.] In the original it is the islands 
of Minos. The Cyclades uere so called, because 
they were all in common subject to Minos, who 
expelled the Carians from them. 

726. Parrhasiau tribes.] So called from Parrha- 
^ia, a city of Arcadia. 

"^'.17. IcHKuan Jove.] So called from 'I/.juaj, which 


signifies a moist vapour, or watry humour. The 
scholiast says, that in the island of Coos there wa^ 
a temple dedicated to Jupiter Icmeus, the giver 
of breezes and showers ; an attribute consonant 
with the fabulous or religious pliysiology of the 
ancients, which made Jupiter to signify the cefhery 
as Juno denoted the ah: Jupiter is frequently 
represented under the character of Piuvius ; for it 
was his province, as chief ruler of the air, to dis- 
pense not only thunder and lightning, but rain. 
Virgil speaks of him under this character, ^Eneid 
ix. ver. 670 : 

Cum Jupiter horridus austris 

Torquet aquosam hyemem, et calo cava nubila rumpit. 

There are many ancient representations of Jupiter 

730. Red dog-star's beam.'] Ovid speaks of tiie 
sacrifices to Sirius, Fasti, lib. iv. ver. 941 : 

Pro cane sidereo cams hie impanitur ara ; 
Et, quare per eat, nil nisi nomen habet. 

The Greek scholiast says, that the dog-star may 
be called Sirius, quasi Zirius, from ^suj/ervea; 
or, that the name may be derived from a-n^ouf 
* to exhaust or empty ;' an efl'ect produced by ex- 
cessive heat. It is doubtful to whom the dog, 
which, in after times, obtained a place iu Heaven, 
originally belonged; whether to Orion, to Isis, to 
Cephalus; for all these different accounts of the 
matter are found in diiferent writers. 

737. Detained.'] The Etesian winds are adverse 
to those who sail from Greece towards Pontus, 
and the other regions which lie to the north oi' 


Greece. The Ete^uan winds were, with respect 
to Greece, contrary to a course into the Euvine 
sea, which lay to the north-east; as the Etesian 
winds blew fiom that quarter. 

745. An altar.] The altar here spoken of (says 
tlie Greek scholiast) must have been on the Euro- 
pean side of the strait; since, accordiu;; to hirn, 
there remained in his time an altar bearing a cor- 
respondent appellation. Demosthenes, as quoted 
in the same place, says, that Phryxus erected 
twelve altars to the deities : the Argonauts one 
to Neptune. Herodotus says, that the Argonauts 
placed oblations to the gods on the altar, on which 
the sons of Phryxus had sacrificed. Tlie twelve 
deities here alluded to, were Jupiter, Juno, Nep- 
tune, Ceres, Vulcan, Mercury, Apollo, Diana, 
Vesta, Mars, Venus, and Minerva. 

750. Fluttefd round his hand.} Here again is 
another instance, how exactly Apollouins draws 
from nature ; and how much he excels in the pic- 
turesque. Orpheus, in his Argonautics, differs, 
in some degree, from our poet. He says, that the 
adventurers employed a heron for this purpose, 
and not a dove ; and that they were guided by the 
suggestions of Minerva, not the advice of Pbineus^, 
as is stated by Apollonius. See ver. 690, Sec. 

759. When an exile.'] This simile seems to be 
imitated, but improved, from a passage of Homer: 
*fi,- ^' oTOiv vo^ avsp©^, &c. Sec. 

768. Euxiiie.] The Black sea is called the Ax- 
ine sea by many ancient writers ; as by Apollonius 
in the passage of the text. It after obtained the 
pame of Euxine. The scholiast tells us the rea- 
son of this difference. The alpha was used, in a 



bad sense, to denote a sea unfriendly to strangers j 
because it was at first infested by pirates; but 
when these plunderers were exterminated, it 
changed its appellation, and took the name of 
Euxine, to intimate that it was then friendly to 
strangers. — See Gr. Scho. 

785. Last time.'} Because it was decreed by 
fate, that these rocks were to become stationary 
in the deep from that period. — ZxriXvyy-c^, in the 
text, seems to be the original of the Latin word 

792. Together crashed.'] The mechanism of these 
rocks, as described by the poet, seems to have 
been, that they were in perpetual motion, clash- 
ing and separating, advancing and receding. 

811. On either hand.] Being engaged in this 
narrow pass, where vast rocks nearly closed over- 
head, they saw the huge waves of the sea, before 
them and behind, and could discern nothing else. 

814. Against the ship.] Virgil has imitated this 
passage of our poet, ^neid i. ver. 104. In fact, 
this storm of ApoUonius seems to have been co- 
pied by Virgil, by Ovid, Lncan, and Valerius 
Flaccus. Let the reader compare these descrip- 
tions of a storm, with that fine one in the Psalms : 
* They that go down to the sea in ships, and oc- 
cupy their business in great waters,' 6ic. 

829. Far as a youthful, ^c] The poet means to 
illustrate the rapidity with which the Argo was 
urged on by her crew. He says, that the rowers, 
at every stroke, drove her on twice as far, or gave 
her twice as much way, as another vessel would 
have made at the same time. — See Val. Flac. iv. 
Ter. 650. 


845. TJien to their succour, ^c] This appear- 
wnce of Minerva, coining to the assistance of the 
Argonauts, may serve to remind us of the appear- 
ance of Neptune, to extricate the Trojans from 
their distress in the yEneid, i. ver. 144. 

Virgil seems also to have had the passage in his 
recollection in the fifth yEneid, ver. 241. 

Et pater ipse manu niagnU Portunus euntem 
Impulit ; ilia noto citius volucrique sagitta 
Ad terramfngit. 

The volucri sagitta of Virgil is literally from Apol= 

850. The sculptur'd ornaments, ^c] There is 
great doubt among the grammarians, what part of 
the ship was signified by the word Corymbus. — 
See Giraldus, de Navig. cap. 16. — Eustath. ad 
Hom. Iliad, ver. 241. — Hesychius, verbo d<^\a.<ru. 
— Scheffer, de Militia navali, dicitfuisse ornamcnta 
in prora. The term seems to have been taken in 
a double sense by the poets, and made either to 
signify a/tporoXi«, or, when employed in a more 
general sense, it denoted «:J)Xara, the two horns 
or extremities of the ship ; the one at the head, 
the other at the stern. Valerius Flaccus says^ 
(iv. ver. 691,) 

Saxa sed extremis tamen increpuere cnrymbis 
Parsqne, nefas, deprensajvgis. 

Which his commentator interprets to imply, that 
the projecting parts of the ship, both at the prow 
and stern, were broken off, by the rocks project- 
ing over the heads of the Argonauts. — Lucan al- 
ludes to this passage of the Argo between the 
vocks. .See Heyne in Ai)ollod. not, pp. VJ8, 199. 

120 NOTES ON BOOK 11. 

856. Mortal birth.] No navigator had passed 
through these rocks before Jason. So Val. Flac- 
ciis : Nondiim uUas videre rates. Seneca says, in 
his Medea, Cu?n duo montes claiistra profundi^ 
hinc atque illinc subito impulsu^ velut fsthereo geme- 
rent sonitu, spargeret astra ipsasque nubes mare de- 
pressum. The fable respecting these rocks arose 
either from the circumstance of great fragments 
of rocks perpetually falling, or from this strait be- 
ing possessed by pirates and robbers, who used 
to destroy ships in their passage, until they were 
exterminated by Jason and the Argonauts. Yet 
it is not inipossible, that the story of moving rocks 
might have some foundation in reality. Seneca, 
the pliilosopher, describes a phenomenon of this 
kind, from his own observation, in his third book 
of natural questions, torn. ii. Els. p. 590 : Sunt 
enim multi (lapides) pomicosi et leves, ex qtiibus, 
qua constant insulie in Lydict natant, Theophrastus 
est auctor. Ipse ad Catylias nutantem insulam 
vidi. Alia in Vadimonis lacu vehitur, alia in lacu 
Stratoniensi. Catyliarum insula et arbores habety. 
et herbas nutrit, tamen aqua sustinetur. Et in 
hanc atque illam partem, non tantum vento impel- 
litur, sed aur&. I^'ec unquam illi, per diem et noc- 
tem in uno loco statio est. Adeo raovetur leviflatu, 
huic duplex causa est, Sfc. 

877. Jason replied.] The reader will easily per- 
ceive, that the poet is indebted, for this reply of 
Jason, to the speech of Agamemnon in the Iliad ; 
where he pretends, w ith some finesse, to repent of 
his having engaged in the expedition, and advises 
the Greeks to return home. There is a similar 
address and management in this speech of Jason. 


which is artfully introduced as the Argonauts ap- 
proach Colchos, the chief scene of danger. Jason 
intimates strongly to his followers tliat many pe- 
rils yet remain to be surmounted, that they may 
be on their guard. At the same time, by praising 
them excessively, he awakes their confidence, and 
draws upon their pride for extraordinary exer- 
tions, while he assures them that the worst is past; 
and reminds them that Phineus had predicted their 
ultimate success, to do away aiiy gloomy appre- 
hensions they might entertain. 

920. Colone.] This was a proper name, cck^cc 
KiXoiivr). — The place was so called, from the shady 
trees which covered it, — Val. Flac. hb. iv. ver. 
697, has 

Nigrantia quatnjam 

Littora, longtnquique exirent ftumina Hebce, 

Orpheus, ver. 711, has MsXatvav dySlnv. 

9-28. IDipsacus.l He is fabled to have been the 
son of the river god Phyllis, and one of the nymplis 
of the country, of that race who preside over 
meadows. Phryxus, being entertained by Dipsa- 
cus, here sacrificed the ram, which had borne him 
over the Hellespont, to Jupiter Laphystius; and 
still (says the scholiast) the descendants of Phryxus, 
on a stated day, sacrifice to Jupiter under that 
name. The temple mentioned in the text was 
probably consecrated to Jupiter Laphystius. In 
the original it is Ta /xsv i?poy, which may signify, 
either that the temple was built by Dipsacus ; or 
consecrated to bim. If the latter sense be adopt- 
ed, the version will run thus : 

RearM to his honour they behold the fane. 
The river*s spacious banks, the flowery plain. 


938. Calpis.} A river, which flowed betwccR 
Chalcedon and Heraclea. It is called Calpas by 
Strabo, book xii. — Gr. Scho. 

958. Thynim.] This island of Thynias is inen= 
tioned by Nymphis Heracleotes, who says it is 
about seven stadii in circumference. Callisthenes 
also takes notice of it in his Periplus. 

962. Northern train.] Hyperborei, people at 
the north pole, properly speaking. But it ap- 
pears, from the note of the Greek schoUast, that 
the meaning of the term was doubtful. Herodo- 
tus (says he) asserts, that there cannot, with pro- 
priety, be any people called by tliis appellation ; 
since there are none above the north, but only 
above the south; since, according to his notion, 
the north pole was always elevated, and that to 
the observation of all the inhabitants of the earth, 
indiscriminately. — Posidonius says, that the Hy- 
perboreans were the inhabitants of the chain of 
the Alps that divides Italy. Other writers, 
quoted by the scholiast, as Mnaseas and Heca- 
taeus, make different conjectures about the Hy- 

964. Curling- tresses.] The word is a metaphor 
taken from bunches of grapes, to which ringlets 
and curls of hair are not unaptly compared; 
both for their shape and brightness. Milton has 
adopted this metaphorical expression from Apol- 
lonius. This description of the hair of Apollo 
waving as he moved is imitated from Homer : 
'A/xjS§ccrtai 5' u^a ^aiTOn ETTJ^^wcavTO avaxlo^ 
x^ocro^ k'K a^uvMToio. Nothing was deemed more 
essential to personal beauty, by the ancients, than 
line long hair. Apollo was always represented as 


a youth; and the epithets crinitus and intonsiis 
are given to him : 

Crinitus Apollo 

Nube sedens. — Virgil. 

Sic tibi sint intonsl, Fhabe caj/illi. — Tibulln*. 

975. None dar'd, S^-c.'] It has been usual with the 
poets, when they represented the progress and 
passage of the Divinity, to picture the earth as 
trembling and shrinking. Thus Homer, speaking 
of Neptune, in the passage so much (tommended 
-by Longinus : 

The most sublime instance of this kind is in tlie 
Psalms, Ixviii. 7. O God, when thou wentest 
forth before the people, when thou wentest through 
the wilderness; the earth shook, and the Heavens 
dropped, at the presence of God: even as Sinai 
also was moved, at the presence of God, who is 
the God of Israel.' Deut. iv. ver. S3. ' Did ever 
people hear the voice of God speaking out of the 
midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?' In 
Beaumont and Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess (if 
we may quote a profane after sacred authorities) 
we have a similar passage : 

^■^ In thy fnce 
Dwells more awful majesty. 
Than dull weak mortality 
Dares with misty eye behold 
And live. 

Hesiod, in Scuto, de Hercule, says : Ou^s lir ^v% 

124 NOTES ON BOOK 11. 

980. Orpheus.} Orpheus was not only a poef, 
or bard, but a prophet also. Herodotus relates, 
that on the isle of Thynis there was an altar dedi- 
cated to Apollo Eous. — Gr. Scho. 

996. Double.] There seems to be an ambiguity 
in the original of this passage. It may mean ei- 
ther, that both the thiglis were burned, or that the 
cawls were doubled on them, that they mij^ht bum 
with better omen and brighter blaze. — Hcelzlinus. 

1002. lo P^ans.] This exclamation of joy and 
religion should more properly be written lopaan, 
in one word, as Spanheim observes in his notes on 
Callimachus ; Hymn to Apollo, ver. 21. 

1004. Thracian lyre.'] In the original, Bisto- 
nian ; an appellation derived from the Bistones, a 
Thracian tribe, who took their name from Biston, 
the son of Cicon. — Gr. Scho. 

1010. Unshorn.'] Apollo v^as worshipped as the 
god of light, hence he was represented with flow- 
ing locks, as symbols of the rays which stream 
perpetually through space, and illumine the uni- 
verse in every direction. 

1013. Daughter of Cans.] Koioysmct. Latona 
was so called, from Caeus her father. 

1016. Corycian nymphs.] From Corycium, a 
cave of Mount Parnassus, a name which that 
mountain derived from Parnassus, an ancient hero. 
Corycium took its title from the nymph Corycia, 
who bore Lycoreos to Apollo. — (Gr. Scho.) The 
Corycian cave is mentioned by Herodotus, in 
Urania; it was at the foot of Mount Corycus, was 
of vast extent, and was consecrated to the Muses, 
who were hence called Corycides. — Ovid. Metam. 
lib, 1. ver. 12. notices this epithet: 


Corycidas nymphas, ct numina montis adorant. 

in the eastern countries, subterranean caves were 
very mucli used for purposes of devotion. The 
cave of Trophonius was mucli celebi-ated. The 
Ehisinian mysteries were held in a cavern. 

1021. Sacred things.] It was customary among 
the ancients, for those who came to take an oath 
to touch the altar. Thus we find Hamilcar 
brougiit his son Hannibal to the altar, when he 
made him swear eternal enmity to Rome. — So 
Virgil, iEneid xii. 1. 201. 

Tango aras, medlosqtie igiics. 

Such is the present form of swearing ; Tactis sacris 

1033. Lyciis.] A river flowing through the re- 
gion of the Mariandyni. There was a king of the 
same name. — Gr. Scho. 

1034. Atifhemoisis.'] This lake took its name 
from Anthemoisia, the daughter of Lycus, who 
was married to Dascylas, the son of Tantalus. — 
Gr. Scho. 

1040. Acheriisian.] This was a promontory near 
Heraclea, high and steep, surrounded by sea. 
Tokens of the exploit of Hercules, in descending 
and bringing up Cerberus, were shown in the re- 
gion near the river Acheron, as Xenophon relates 
in his Anabasis, even in his time. Hercules is 
said to have descended through the Achernsian 
cave, when he went to the infernal regions to bring 
up Cerberus. Near it stood Heraclea, which 
took its name from him. It was seated on the 
Euxine sea, and anciently formed a republic of no 
small note; it was called Pontica, to distinguish 


it from other cities of the same name. PausaniaSj 
and the scholiast of our author, say, that it was 
founded and peopled by a colony of the Mega- 
renses and Tanas^ri of Boeotia. With them Justin 
agrees, and acquaints us with the occasion of found- 
ing this city. The Boeotians, being reduced to 
great straits by a plague, had recourse to the 
oracle of Delphos ; which enjoined them to send 
a colony to the country bordering on the Pontus, 
and there build a city in honour of Hercules. The 
Boeotians choosing rather to die in their own coun- 
try than to undertake so troublesome a voyage, 
refused to obey the oracle. Whereupon the Pho- 
cians invaded their country, and ravaged itj while 
they were unable to defend themselves, on ac- 
count of the plague. They again consulted the 
oracle, and were told, that what would put an end 
to the plague would also end the war. On this 
they complied, and sent out the colony which set- 
tled on the coast, and built the city of Heraclea. 
This city acquired in time so mucli wealth and 
power, that it was not inferior to any of the Greek 
states of Asia. In the time of Xenophon, the 
Heracleans had a numerous fleet. They supplied 
him with a squadron, to convey his men, after 
their retreat, towards Greece. 

1066. Somautes.] The colony which emigrated 
from Megara to Heraclea, being overtaken by a 
storm, took refuge in the river Acheron ; which, 
from that incident, took the name of Soonautes, 
the preserver of sailors. — (Gr. Scho.) There was 
another Acheron, in Greece, where was supposed 
to be the descent to the infernal regions. 

1 067. Nisaan.^ The Megarensians were so called 


from Nisus, the son of Pandion, who was the 
leader of the emigration in question. — See Theo- 
critus, Idyll, xii. ver. 27. 

1083. Lycus.'\ Compare Valerius Flaccus, book 
iv. ver. 7j3, with tlie passage in the text. 

1094. Bebrycians, Sfc] The Mariandyni and 
Bebrycians were engaged in constant warfare. In 
one of these engagements, Priolaus, the brother 
of Lycus, or, according to others, his son, was 
taken prisoner by Amycus, and put to death by 
him. Lycus, having afterwards obtained the suc- 
cour of Hercules, as that hero was proceeding to 
his war with the Amazons, easily overthiew the 
Bebrycians. — Gr. Scho. 

lion. By land-l When he went on the task of 
obtaining the girdle of Hippolita. The expres- 
sion in the original is, * when he passed on foot.' 
He went by land, to avoid the dangers of the Sym- 
plegades. This was the ninth labour of Hercules. 
Some writers call the Amazonian queen Deilyce, 
not Hippolita. Ibycus makes her the daughter of 

1108. From Lydia's.'] In the original it is, 
* When he came hither through Asis.' For Lydia 
was originally called Asia, Thus Homer has 
'Aa-iu £y XEt/ucDvi ; and the lyre is called Asian, be- 
cause it was first invented in Lydia, which gave 
its name to a particular strain. — Gr. Scho. 

1113. My brother f Sfc-I Here the poet exhibits 
a complete match of story-telling between Jason 
and his worthy host, in which both seem to have 
been equally prolix and tiresome. 

1118. Titias.] Some relate, that Titias was the 


128 NOTES ON BOOK 11. 

make him the eldest son of Maiiandynus, whose 
fatlier was either Phineus, Phryxus, or Cimme- 
rius : and it is said, tliat the city of Titium was 
called after his name. — Gr. Scho. 

llii 4. Phrijgians.] According to the Greek scho- 
liast, some commentators would read Mygdonians 
for Phrygians in the text, and make the poet say, 
* he subjected the Mygdonians and Mysians to my 
father's power.' Yet, Nymphis (adds he) relates, 
that Hercules actually made the Phrygians sub- 
ject to the Mariandyni. If we read Mygdonians, 
we must suppose that the Bebrycians were called 
Mygdonians, from Mygdon, the king of their 
country. (Gr. Scho.) Herodotus says, that ac- 
cording to the Macedonians, the Phrygians, as long 
as they lived in Europe, and were their neigh- 
bours, were called Bryges ; but that, in passing 
over into Asia, they took the name of Phrygians, 
so that their progress was eastward, and from Eu- 
rope to Asia, like the Thracians of Asia, or Bithy- 
nians : who are said, in Polymn. to have come 
from tiie banks of the Strymon, so that the course 
of migration and conquest was opposite, on the 
south of the Euxine, to that on the north. The 
country of Phrygia occupied the central parts of 
Asia Minor, and was a country of very great ex- 
tent. It included, amongst others, the tract af- 
terwards named Galatia, from the conquests and 
settlements made in it by the Gauls. Armenia is 
said to have been colonized by the Phrygians : 
the Armenians were armed like the Phrygians, 
and botli nations were commanded by one gene- 
ral. — Herod. Polym. 73. in the enumeration of the 
Persian armv. 


1131. Hijpius.] A river of Bithynia, near vvliicli 
was a city or' the same name. It was called Hy- 
pius, because it descended tVoiu the mountains. 

1143. Dascijlus "] There was a city on the coast, 
called after him Dascyla^um. 

1151. Godlike brothers.'] The Tyndaridae, or 

1158- Fertile space.] This space was calied by 
the ancient Greeks te/xsvo,-. The temples by the 
ancients were first constructed on mountains. 
Thus we find in the scriptural writings, how uni- 
versally the custom of worshipping on high places 
prevailed among the Heathens. Whether this 
practice arose from the desire of separating the 
places appropriated to sacred uses from profane 
structures, or of approximating the houses of prayer 
to the usual residence of the deities, that the ori- 
sons of the pious might the more conveniently be 
heard, is doubtful. The silence and solitude on 
the tops of mountains, the effect which the cool, 
clear, and elastic air has, in elevated situations, 
to raise the spirits and tranquillize the mind, might 
first have pointed out high places as seats of de- 
votion, peculiarly adapted to prayer and medita- 
tion. Certain it is, that the practice was univer- 
sal. It was only when population was greatly 
increased, that it became usual to build temples 
in cities, for the convenience of the people. Such 
was the situation of the temple of Neptune, among 
the Phjeacians, described by Homer. The most 
famous temple of the Trojans, where Hector is 
said to have offered so many acceptable victims, 
was on the top of Blount Ida. In order to pre- 
serve yet more the solitude and sanctity of the 


place, there were certain void spaces around the 
temples, which were set apart and consecrated to 
the gods, whom they thought to please by leaving^ 
certain portions of the earth uncultivated around 
their shrines, that there might be no pretext for 
human intrusion, or the sight or sound of profdue 
labour, near such holy places. These portions of 
ground were generally planted with trees, which 
cast ' a dim religious shade.' Among the people 
of the north, those who preserve the religion of 
Ghamanism, perform their religious ceremonies iit 
certain void spaces surrounded by trees, which 
they call Keremets. The Greeks, who originally 
came from the north, might have brought with 
them from thence the custom of setting apart 
these consecrated enclosures. 

1165. Could wretched man, Sfc] Virgil has the 
same thouglit, ^Eneid ix. ver. 328. 

1169. Boar.] Ovid seems to have imitated this 
passage of the ori«final, in his description of the 
Calydonian boar, Metam. lib. viii. ver. 334. 

1196. The corse inum'd.] See the description of 
the funeral rites, at the interment of Misenus, 
JEneid, Ub. vi. ver. 212 ; and see hereafter, book 
iv. of our author. 

1203. Upon the summit, ^-c] So Virgil, >Eneid 
vi. ver. 232. See too the account of the funeral 
of Elpenor, in the Odyssey. 

1208. Boeotian and Niscean] The Megarensians 
(see note on line 1067) were called Nisagan, from 
their leader Nisus, the son of Pandion. The city 
which they were about to build was Heraclea, in 
the forum of which, according to Herodotus, was 
the tomb of Idmon, out of which grew the wild 


olive meutioned by the poet. It seems, however, 
that the people of Heraclea mistook the meaning 
of tlie oracle. 

1217. Another hero.] Tiphys, the son of Agnias. 
pilot of the ship Argo, died at Heraclea, as Nym- 
phis relates. Herodotus asserts that he died, not 
as the Greeks were proceeding towards Colchis, 
but on their voyage homewards from thence. 
There is a splendid declamatory passage in the 
Medea of Seneca, where the chorus is made to 
say, that many of the Argonauts, Tiphys, Orpheus, 
Alcides, Hylas, Idmon, and Mopsus, expiated by 
death their criminal presumption in daring to 
navigate the seas. 

1229. In rmite despair, ^c] Plutarch, in his life 
of Pelopidas, says : ' The whole army, when they 
understood he was dead, neither put off their ar- 
mour, unbridled their horses, nor dressed their 
wounds ; but, notwithstanding the heat and fatigue, 
ran all immediately to hmi, as if he had been still 
alive; heaped up the spoils of the enemy about 
bis dead body; and cut off their horses' manes, 
and their own hair. And many of them, when 
they retired to their tents, neither kindled a tire 
nor took any refreshment, but a general silence, 
consternation, and grief, reigned throughout the 

1236. AnccBus.'] This hero, who was a native of 
the island of Samos, which excelled in commerce, 
and was fabled to be the son of Neptune by As- 
typhalea, is properly made to offer himself as the 
pilot of the vessel. It was, probably, from his 
skill in navigation, that he was said to be the son 
of Neptune. Valerius Flaccus assigns Erginus as 

l^g NOTES ON BOOK 11. 

the successor of Tiphys, and gives him that rank 
by the suffrage of tiie prophetic ship. Perhaps 
he was induced, by the authority of Herodotus ; 
who is quoted by the scholiast, and differs from 
our poet, with wiiom Orpheus and others agree : 

Mcesti omnes; dubiiqjte ratem fidissima ctfjus 
Dextra regat ; simul Ancaus solersque vetebant 
Nauplius : Ergmtwi/ato vocat ipsa monenH 
Quercus, et ad tonsas victi rediere magistri. 

1237. Imbrasiis.] A river of Samos, formerly 
called Partheniiis, as Callimachus observes.— Gr. 

1259. Where, Peleus, Sfc.'] It is not to be sup- 
posed that Jason really desponded in the degree 
which he wishes to represent ; but he continues 
to employ here the same artifice which he had 
practised on a former occasion. 

1283. Callichorus.'] The name of a river near 
Heraclea, a city of Paphlagonia, where Bacchus, 
on his return from India, established a festival. 
Valerius Flaccus imitates the original passage in 
his fifth book : 

I?ide preme7ife noio tristes Acherusidos undas 
PrtEterit, etfestd vulgatiim node Lyai, 

A name derived from the choirs which were led 
by Bacchus. 

128.i. Nijseian.'] Different etymologies of this 
word may be assigned. There was a city named 
Nysa, in Arabia, where Bacchus was nursed ; 
there was another, of that name, in India, built 
by him, and probably called after the former 

Notes on hook if. 13:'- 

Nysa ; Nysa was aho the name of one of the two 
tops of Parnassus ; and this top was sacred to 
Bacchus, as Cirrha, tlie other top, was to Apollo. 
— See Nonnus Dionysiacs. 

I5;;90. Hallow d rite.] The mysteries of Bacchus, 
which were held in the cavern alluded to. 

1304. Dear objects.'] So Valerius Flaccus, lib. v, 
ver. 90 : 

Unum qui littore in illo 

Conditus ad cares inittant spectacula turbs, 
It SthenUus, &c. 

This hero was the son of Actor, 

1310. Fourfold crest.] This ornament was usuaf 
on the helmets of warriors. — So Virgil, ^neid vii. 
ver. 785 : 

Cui triplici crinitajubd galea alt a Cklmsram 

1321. Such victims.] The ancients sacrificed to 
tlie dead, and to the infernal deities, such victims 
as had been castrated ; as they considered them 
to be more suitable to the powers of darkness 
and destruction. — See notes on book i. 

1328. NaiTte of Lyra.] So Valerius Flaccus^ lib. v. 
yer. 101 : 

Nomenque religuit arenis. 

1332, Swift as through liquid air.] This passage- 
is imitated by Virgil, (.Eueid, ver, 217.) where, 
speaking of the flight of the dove, he says : 

Radit iter liquidum, celeres neque commoi^t alas. 

1336. Parthenlus^ A river of Paphlagonia' 
which derived its name from Diana. Al^^o^ an- 



oliier in European Scytiiia. — See Ovid ex Ponto, 
iv. ver. 10. 49. Orpheus (or whoever was the 
real author of the Argonautics ascribed to him) 
tiiffeis from ApcIIonius, and confounds the Par- 
thenius and Cailichorus together. — See Argon, 
ver. t29. Ov ^s KocXXixo^ov. 

1341. Sesamus.] This was a city of Paphlagonia. 
It is mentioned by flonier, Kat cr>5cra/xov a.ix'PkVB- 
lj,ov7o. It obtained its name from the Carians 
having purchased the site of the town, for a cer- 
tain quantity of the grain called Sesamus. It af- 
terwards took the name of Amastris, from a 
daughter of Oxyaties, brother of Darius, who was 
married to Dionysius, the tyrant of Heraclea. — 
See Strabo, lib. ii. Eustathiiis, II. ii. and the 
Greek scholiast. 

1342. Eruthinian.'] The Eruthini were certain 
iiiMs in Paphlaiionia. They were so calleu irom 
tiie redness of the soil. Homer mentions them 
by the appellation of * the lofty Eruthini.' — Gr. 
Scho. Crobialus, Cromna, Cytorus, all these cities 
are particularly mentioned by Valerius Flaccus, 
lib. V. ver. 105, 106. Crobialus was a city of 
Paphlagonia, which is mentioned by Strabo in his 
geography (says the Greek scholiast). Cytorus 
is called ' woody,' from the groves of box in the 
neighbourhood. Undantem huxo Cytorutn. — See 
Virgil, Georg. ii. 437. 

1350. Assyrian.] The ancients confounded Sy- 
ria, or rather Leuco-syria, where the river Halys 
flowed, dividing Syria from Cappadocia, and ex- 
tending itself as far as Sinope, a city of Pontus, on 
the Euxine sea, with the country afterwards called 
properly Assyria. See on this subject the note of 


Maserius, on a correspoudiug passage of the fifth 
book of Valerius Fiaccus, in Bunnan's edition; 
and Dionysins Periegetes, with his commentator 
Eustathius. By the Syrians, as spoken of by our 
poet aijd also by Herodotus, are meant Cappado- 
cians. For Major Rennell observes, tliat it ap- 
pears by many passages of Herodotus, (Clio, vi. 
76; Euterpe, 'l04; Terpsi. 49; Polym. 72.) that 
the people of Cappadocia, and on the Euxine sea, 
at Sinope, and along its coasts, from the river 
Parthenius on the west, to the Thermodon on the 
east, were called Syrians. Strabo confirms it ge- 
nerally; calling them Leuco-syri, or White Sy- 
rians, in contradistinction to the Syrians on the 
south of Mount Taurus. But, although tJie Sy- 
rians are placed at the river Parthenius, by He- 
rodotus, in Euterpe, c. 104, yet Paphlagonia, 
which, therefore, ought also to liave been inha- 
bited by Syrians, is arranged under its proper 
uame in the satrapy ; and the Paphlagonians are 
classed as a distinct people in the list of the army 
in Poiym, o. 72. But Sinope is in Paphlagonia, 
and its inhabitants Syrians, Clio 72. Hence, we 
must allot, not only Cappadocia, but all the tract 
between it and the Euxine, to the Leuco-Syri. 

1353. Sinope.'] This city was so called in honour 
of Sinope, who, according to the Greek scholiast, 
was the daughter of Asopus, and was carried off 
by Apollo from Bceotia to Pontus, where she bore 
him Syrus, from whom the people of Syria took 
tlieir name. Sinope is said by some to have been 
the daughter of Mars and iEgina; by others, of 
Mars and Parnassa. But Eumelus and Aristotle, 
according to the Greek scholiast, concur in mak- 


ing her the daughter of Asopus. Andro the Tcian 
relates, that one of the Amazons, flying into Pon« 
tus, married the king of the region, and having 
drank too much wine was thence called Sanape, a 
name which was afterwards changed into Sinope ; 
for Sanapians, it seems, in the Thracian dialect, 
which was used among the Amazons, was a term 
employed to denote persons who were intoxicated. 
See the note of the Greek scholiast. 

1364. Tricca.'] A town of Thessaly, whence 
came the word Triccaean, to signify of or belong- 
ing to Thessaly. The brothers mentioned in the 
text accompanied Hercules, when he went in quest 
of the girdle of the queen of the Amazons. They 
were left behind by the hero on his return. It is 
said, that the people of Sinope, having spread a 
report that Hercules had perished in his enter- 
prise, and the Argonauts happening to be on the 
coast at the time, the brothers intreated to be 
taken on board. Others again say, that they wan- 
dered away from Hercules of themselves, and 
afterwards settled in the neighbourhood of Sinope, 
— Gr. Scho. 

1381. Fresh alluvions, 8fc.] Halys and Iris were 
rivers of Assyria, or Leuco-syria, as it was more 
properly called. The shore of which the poet 
speaks projected into the sea, says the scholiast •, 
and was perpetually augmented by the alluvion of 
a quantity of soil: vviiich may easily be accounted 
for, by the circumstance of this region being tra- 
versed by a multitude of rivers, which coming 
down from Armenia, and flowing through an ex- 
tensive tract of rich country, brought with them, 
in winter, great quantities of soil, which they de- 


posited when they came to meet with opposition 
from the waves ; and thus, gradually augmenting 
the land, enabled it to gain upon the sea. The 
river Iris is mentioned by Xenophon, Anab. lib. v. 
26. It seems, that the mouths of these rivers, 
and especially of the Iris, on account of the mud 
and sand which they used to bring down, were 
variable ; and would discharge their waters some- 
times at one place, sometimes at another; as has 
been in some measure the case with the embou- 
chures of the Nile. This variation in the shores 
of the Euxine sea, and the gradual diminution in 
the depth of the bason, has been noticed by other 
writers ; particularly by Polybius, who has a very 
cnrious and interesting disquisition on the subjest. 
— See a copious investigation of this curious topic 
by Major Rennell. 

1383. Circuit wide.] It should seem, that the 
Argonauts, conscious of the enmity wliich the 
Amazons bore to men in general, and recollecting 
the particular cause of hostility which Hercules 
had given them, might be fearful of too nearly ap- 
proaching their coasts. Ephorus, says the scho- 
liast, relates in his ninth book, that the Amazonian 
females, being injuriously treated by the men, 
seized on the occasion when the latter were most 
of them employed abroad, on a military expedi- 
tion, to kill the few who remained behind ; after 
which, they indiscriminately refused admittance 
into their country to all of the male sex, from what- 
ever quarter they came. Dionysius, in his second 
part, says the same scholiast, writes, that the seat 
of the Amazons was originally in Libya ; but that 
they excelling greatly in strength, and prevailing 


over their neighbours, extended themselves into 
Europe, founded many cities ther^ and added to 
their dominion the Atlantic nation, the most 
powerf(d in Libya. Zenothemis says, that their 
original establishment was ;Ethiopia, that they had 
an occasional intercourse with the men in the ad- 
joining dictricts, and if the offspring produced in 
consequence were females they bred them up ; if 
males, they delivered them to the men. The poet 
says, that the Argonauts held their course in a 
wide circuit from the city of Sinope, which lay 
near it, to Trapezus, (as will appear on consulting 
the map) except the projection of two promonto- 
ries. The coast formed a vast bay, completely 
semicircular. On this bay stood the city of The- 
miscyra, and the rivers Thermodon and Sidenus 
discharged themselves into the sea. The Tibareni, 
Philyres, and Mosynaeci lived on this coast. In 
the manner in which ancient voyages were con- 
ducted, in the infancy of navigation, by coasting 
and describing a curve, according to the curvature 
of the shore, instead of taking a departure from 
headland to headland, and describing the subtense 
of a curve ; it will appear, that this form of the 
coast must have rendered the voyage circuitous ; 
since, although the Argonauts kept a respectful 
distance, on account of the Amazons, they fol- 
lowed the shape of the shore, and compassed the 
bay. — See D'Anville's ancient maps, No. 7. 

1384. The cliff's of Amazons.1 The promontory 
here was called Themiscyrium ; near which stood 
Themiscyra, a city of the Amazons. For an ac- 
count of these martial women, see Justin, book ii. 
cap. 4. They are sometimes called Threicice Ama- 


::ynes. They are, by tlie general consent of anti- 
quity, supposed to be of Sarmatian origin ; tliough 
some of the fables have transfened them from the 
mouths of the Tanais, to tlie coasts of Pontus, 
and the banks of Thf^rmodon. Virgil, in his 
j?!!ncid, book xi. ver. 6b9, seems to have imitated 
ApoUonius : 

. Cumjlumina Thet-Tnodontis 

Pulsant, et pictis bellantur /Imazoncs crmls, 
Seu circum Hippolyten, ic 

Claudian has imitated this pa-ssage of Virgil in his 
poem ' De Raptu ProserpitiiB.' — Since the story 
of the Amazons, in the way it is commonly told, 
is so justly exploded in these times, one is sur- 
prised how it came to be so universal ly believed, 
as that most of the writers of antiquity should 
speak of it as a fact. Nay, Herodotus has gone 
so far, (in Call. 27) as to make the Athenians say, 
that the Amazons had advanced from the river 
Thermodon to attack Attica! That a conmiunity 
of women existed for a short time is not improba- 
ble, since accidents might have deprived them of 
their husbands ; but were tiiere not in tiiat, as in 
every community, males growing up to maturity? 
Justin, lib. ii. c. 4, describes the origin of the 
Amazons to be this: a colony of exiled Scythians 
established themselves on the coast of the Euxine 
sea, in Cappadocia, near the river Thermodon, and 
being exceedingly troublesome to their neighbours 
were all massacred. This accounts very rationally 
for the existence of a community of women. But 
who can believe that it continued? Human nature 
was, no doubt, the same on the banks of Ther- 

110 KOTES ON EOfJK if. 

niodon as elsewhere ; and a difFeient slate of thiK;" 
could only exist in the descriptions of poets, or of 
those who followed their authority. 

It may be remarked, that every authority places 
the Amazons at the river Thermodon, and in the 
plain of Themiscyra which it waters. And from 
hence Herodotus transports a part of them by sea 
to the opposite shore near Cremnis, a port in the 
MaBotis, amongst the royal Scythians, whence 
their new husbands carry them beyond the 
Tanais, into the country of the Sauromatae. 

We find different notices in Herodotus, respect- 
ing the rivers that watered the regions adjoining 
the seats of the Amazons. The Thermodon is 
mentioned by him as the river on whose banks 
the Amazons were stationed (Call. 27, Melp. 110) 
The Parthenius also is mentioned by him, (Euterp. 
104) together with the former, as bordering on 
the Syrians of Cappadoria. The Halys is noticed, 
(in Clio, 7 and 72) as the line of boundary be- 
tween the empire of Lydja, subject to Croesus, and 
that of the Medes. It is described as flowing 
from the mountains of Armenia, passing through 
CiUcia, and dividing the Matienians, on the right 
or east, from the Phrygians on the left; then, 
stretching towards the north, it is described as 
separating the Syrians of Cappadocia from the 
Pathlaaouians, which latter were situated to the 
left of the stream. It is to be observed, that 
Homer characterizes the Paphlagonians, in his 
catalogue, among the auxiliaries of the Trojans. 
Strabo speaks thus of the Thermodon: * Having 
received many other streams, it runs through 
Themiscyra, formerly inhabited by the Amazons^ 
»nd falls into the Euxine sea.' 

NOTES ON 300K II. 141 

1115. Those plains.} In the original it is, ' The 
plain of Daeas.' This plain was so called, from a 
hero of that name. 

1419. Acmonian shades.] Tiiis was the name of 
a grove near the banks of Thermpdon. 

1423. Themiscyra.] This was the chief city of 
that region ; and the residence of the Amazonian 
queen Hippolyta. Some writers abbreviate the 
penultima of this word ; but Labbe, on the autho- 
rity of our author, determines that it ought to be 
pronounced long. 

1429. Lycastian.] So called from Lycastis, a 
region of Leuco-syria, possessed by the Amazons. 

1430. Chadesian.'] Some editions have Chale- 
sian ; but the present reading seems to be prefer- 
able. The name is derived from a district called 

1442. A painful life, ^c] In the original passage 
here, the poet has not unhappily admitted a spon- 
dee in the fifth place, that t ;e verse, by its slow 
movement, might express the severe toils of this 
laborious race. The present description will recal 
to the reader that of Care, in Spenser, book iv. 
can. 5. St. 34. 

W;th hollow eyes and raw-bone cheeks forspent. 
As if he had in prison lon;^ been pent : 
Full black and s^riesly did his face appear, 
Besmear-d with smoke lliat nigh his eye-sight blent, 
Wiih rugged beard and hoary shagged hair. 

It is believed that the ancient Chalybes were the 
descendants of Tubal. Strabo is of opinion that 
they were the same whom Homer mentions by 
the name of 'A\y/?£j. Virgil has Chalybes r^udi 


1446. Tibareni] These were a people of Scy- 
thia. Xenophon (in the fifth book of his Anabasis) 
gives us the most authentic account of the man- 
ners of this extraordinary tribe. He says, ' That 
they do in private those things which others do in 
public. Talk to themselves, laugh by themselves, 
dance by themselves, as if they \vcre showing 
their skill before spectators. Savage and indecent 
as is the custom here alluded to by the poet, 
Strabo ascribes the same barbarism to the Irish. 
And Cajsar makes similar observations on the 
ancient British. Herodotus says, (Thai. 94) 
* The Moschi, Macrones, Tibareni, Mosynaeci, 
and Mardians, provided three hundred talents, 
and were the nineteenth satrapy.' Xenophon, in 
his way westward, passe<J successively through 
the territories of the Macrones, Mosynzecians, 
Chalybians, and Tibarenians, between the rivers 
Phasis and Thermodon ; and the Sloschi were said 
to be situated between the heads of the Phasis 
and the Cyrus. This satrapy extended along the 
south-east coast of the Euxine sea, and was con- 
fined on the inland or southern side by the lofty 
chain of Armenian mountains. On the east it 
was bounded by the heads of the Phasis and 
Cyrus ; on the west, by the Thermodon. It was 
a narrow stripe or border of taml, forming an 
intermediate level between the high country of 
Armenia and t!ie Euxine sea ; but contained some 
very hardy and warlike tribes, as the ten thousand 
experienced in their troublesome march from the 
borders of Colchis to Cotyora. It is every where 
intersected by small rivers, the neighbourhood o€ 

NOTES ON BOOK 11. 1 1 J 

the mountains to the sea preventing tiie waters 
from collecting into large streams. 

1454. Baths adapted.] The use of baths, on the 
occasion here alluded to, seems to have been 
general among the ancient practitioners in mid- 
wifeiy. So Lesbia, in the Andrian of Terence, 
scene ii. act 3, prescribes for her patient : 

Nunc, primiim,fac istac ut lavet ; post deinde 
Qiwdjuiii ei dare bibere, et quantum imyeravi. 

1477. Woe to the sovereign.'} Pomponins Mela, 
book i. ca. 19, agrees with this account : Reges snf- 
fragio deligtint, vinclisque et arctissima custodid 
fenent, aique ubi culpam prove quid imperando 
meruere inedia totius diet afficiiint. 

1482. Ai^etias.] This island had its name from a 
nymph, an attendant on Mars, who inhabited it. 
Timagetus speaks of the birds who were fonnd on 
this spot, and v. ore said to have wings of iron. 
They were called Stymphalides. — Gr. Scho. 

1515. Stymphalus] This was a city of Arcadia, 
contiguous to the lake of that name. It should 
seem, that the birds here described by the poet 
shot taeir feathers, which were sharp pointed, 
against their enemies; as the porcupine does, or 
is supposed to do, his quills. ApoUodorus says 
the birds were partly killed, partly dispersed. 

1516. Ploides.] This name of the birds of the 
lake Stymphalus, which is derived from a Greek 
verb corresponding in sense, was given to them 
by reason of their swimming about. Lucretius, 
book V, ver. 131, speaks of them : 

Uncisque timendo' 

Ungulbus Arcadia volucres Stymphala colentes. 


Hyginus, fab. 20: Cum ArgonaiUa ad insulam 
Diam venissent, et aves ex pennis suis eos confice- 
rent pro sagittis ; cum multitudini avium resistere 
non possent, ex Phinei monitu clypeos et hastas sum- 

1520, Brazen cymhalJ] This cymbal, or Crota- 
liira, was made (the scholiast tells us) by Vulcan ; 
the hero received it from Pollux. According to 
Apollonius it was made of brass ; but, according 
to other accounts, it was made of a rod, or reed 
cut in two, the parts of which, when struck 
together, emitted a sound after the manner of 

1563. Why should Phineus.'] This interrogation 
proceeds from the poet, who is supposed to 
address the Muse. 

1566. Sons of Phryxus.'] They sailed, four in 
number, towards Orchomenus, from Colchos, to 
seek after the inheritance of their father ; but 
were shipwrecked, in their passage, on the island 
of Aretias. 

1608. Argus thus, ^c] The Argus here men- 
tioned, is one of the four brothers, the sons of 
Phryxus. Their mother, as will appear in the 
sequel, was Chalciope, the daughter of Metes, 
Their names were, Argus, Phrontis, Melas, and 
Cytisorus. Acusilaus and Hesiod, in his work 
called MiyaXoii lout, call this daughter of Metes, 
lophossa. Epimenides mentions also a fifth son, 
who was called Presbo. 

1609. Hear the suppliants, ^c] This passage is 
imitated from the supplication of Ulysses, in the 
Odyssey ^, ver. 149. It is observable, that the 
w/ord BiXvfjM occurs in both passages ; a strong 

NOTES ON iiOOK II. 14.'/ 

mark this of iniitdtion. Thus Virgil, iEn. i. vwr. 

Jupiter, hospitibus nam te dare jura ioqiiuntur. 

1639. The ram.] Hermes is said to have be- 
stowed the fleece of gold on the ram, because he 
was the god who presided over treasures. 

1640. Illustrious fugitive.] Dionysius, in his 
Argonauts, says, that Creius (which in Greek sig- 
nifies ' a ram') was the name of the tutor of 
Phryxus ; that he, having perceived the machi- 
nations of Ino to destroy her step-children, ad- 
vised Phryxus to save himself by flight : whence 
originated the story, that the children of Athamas 
were preserved by a ram, wlien their father pur- 
sued them to destroy them, by the suggestions of 
Ino. Herodotus relates, that Athamas had the 
following children by Aristo, his first wife ; Schoe- 
neus, Erythrius, Leuco, Paeus, Phryxus, and 
Helle. AH which were banished tlnough the 
treachery of loo. He says, that Helle died at 
Pactye, with which Hellanicus agrees. The 
children of Athamas and Ino were Learchus aad 
Melicerta. — Gr. Scho. 

1647. To guardian Jove, &,x.] Phryxus, on his 
arrival at Colchos, by the suggestions of the ram 
himself (who was endowed with tlie powers of 
speech and vaticination, and was at once the pro- 
phet and the sacrifice) offered up his preserver to 
Jupiter Phyxius, or the preserver of fugitives, a 
name under which the god was worshipped among 
the Thessalians, in remembrance of tiie flight and 
escape of Deucalion from the Deluge. — Gr, 


1652. Unendow'd.'] On mauy occasions it was 
customary for the husband to purchase an alli- 
ance, by paying a dowry to the kindred of his 
wife. - To this custom tlie present passage al- 
ludes. Phryxus was unable to pay any dowry, 
and iEetes bestowed his daughter on him without 
one ; a proof of his uncommon merit. — See notes 
on the first book. 

1665. Gaz'd upon them,'\ So Virgil, ^neid viii. 
. ver. 152. and x. ver. 446. 

1670. In blood allied.] Cretheus, by his wife 
Tyro, had two sons, Pelias and ^son, the father 
of Jason. Thus Jason was the grandson of Cre- 
theus, as Argus and his brothers were grandsons 
of Athamas. — (See Hyginus, fable 12.) Athamas 
and Cretheus were brothers, being both sons of 
iEolus. Piiryxus and Helie were the children of 
Athamas, by Nephele ; or, as she is called by 
others, Aristo : on her death, Athamas married 
Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, who treated her 
step-children so cruelly that they fled. Juno, in 
revenge, struck Athamas with madness ; so that, 
mistaking Tno for a lioness, and her children for 
lion's cubs, he took Learchus, one of them, and 
dashed him down against a rock ; and forced Ino, 
with the other, to throw herself from a steep into 
the sea, where Neptune, at the instance of Venus, 
changed them into marine deities, by the names 
of Leucothoe and Melicerta. — See Ovid, Metam. 
l.iv. fable 11. 

1686. A shapeless symbol.'] This description is 
not unlike the accounts which we have of druidi- 
cal monuments. Here are the slmulachra mcesta 
deorum. Tiie same gloomy superstition, the same 


peculiar veneiijtion of the god of battles, whicli 
prevailed among all the northern tribes, appear 
to have been established among the Amazons; 
who, according to the best accounts, seem also 
to have derived their origin from those tribes. 

1695. fV/mi Jason.] This artful speech of Jason 
is marked by all the dexterity and presence of 
mind, which the poet attributes to his character. 
It is not only calcjilated to afford consolation to 
Argus in his distress, but is also intended to dis- 
pose him and his brothers to co-operate with 
Jaso;', in his future proceedings to gain posses- 
sion of the golden fleece. 

1720. Sons of j¥:oIus.'\ The house of ^olus (as 
appears in the course of the preceding notes) had 
been pecuUarly unfortunate. 

1738. Caucasian steeps.'] These are a vast chain 
of mountains, extending from Armenia to Col- 

1740. Enormous Typhon.] Mr. Bryant, in his 
Mytliology, takes notice of this passage; and, ac- 
cording to his custom, endeavours to extract mj'- 
steries fiora it. The Greek scholiast tells us, that 
Typhon, being struck with thunder on the Ty- 
pbaonian rock, (one of the crags of Mount Cau- 
casus) the ichor that flowed from his wounds pro- 
duced the serpent which guarded the golden 
fleece. The Theogony of Pherecydes is quoted 
by the scholiast to show, that Typhon, being pur- 
sued, took refuge in Mount Caucasus ; but the 
mountain being all in flames, he escaped from 
thence to Italy, where the island of Pithecusa, 
(called also Ischia, or Inarime) in the Tyrrhe- 
nian sea, was thrown over him. Not tliat he ^\as 

148 NOTES O:-; 1500K il. 

driven into the regions about Syria, which is the 
account given by our poet. Mr. Bryant will 
have it, according to his system, that in the hol- 
low of the mountain there was an Ophite temple, 
where the deity was worshipped under the form 
of a serpent, and tliat hence the poet supposes the 
serpent which guarded the fleece to have been in- 
troduced in those parts. 

1746. Serbonian lake.^ Typhon, being struck 
and wounded by tlie thunderbolts of Jove, came 
in that plight to Syria ; and thence to the regions 
about Pelusium in Egypt, still pursued by the 
vengeful deity. There he was fabled to have been 
sunk in an abyss, in the Serbonian lake, which ex- 
tended from Pelusium (now Damietta) to Syria, 
Herodorus agrees with our poet in respect to 
Typiion. Speaking of Ny.«a; he says, ' There is 
a certain region called Nysa, a lofty ridge shaded 
\vith wood, at a distance from Phenice, near the 
streams of Egypt, the mouths of the Nile.' Thus 
far the scholiast. The ancient theogony of the 
Egyptians is full of marvellous legends, concern- 
ing Osiris, Isis, Typhon, and Orus. The Ser- 
bonitic lake, near Mount Casius, situated between 
Palestine aud Ebiypt, appears to have been a 
kind of inland Syrtis. Diodorus describes its 
borders as being formed of a very dangerous kind 
of quicksand : (lib. i. c. 3) and says (lib. xvi. 
r. 9) that Artaxerxes Mnemon lost part of his 
army there, in his march into Egypt, about 350 
years B. C. M. Maiilet (p. 103) supposes the 
Serbonian lake to be quite filled up. It is de- 
scribed by Herodotus in his third book. It was 
a lake 200 furlongs in length, and 1000 in com- 


pass, between the ancient mountain Casiiis, and 
Damietta, a city of Egypt, on one of the most 
eastern mouths of the Nile. It was surrounded 
on all sides by hills of loose sand, which, carried 
into the water by high winds, so thickened the 
lake, as not to be distinguished from part of the 
continent, where whole armies have been swal- 
lowed up. Milton refers to this description, Pa- 
radise Lost, book i. ver. 592 : 

A gulf profonnd, as that Serboniaii bog 
Betwixt Darniata and Mount Casius old, 
V/here armies whole have sunk. 

The Syrian Jcnysus extends to lake Serbonis. 
From the vicinity -of this. Mount Casius stretches 
to the sea. It is now called Mount Teuere. On 
this mountain was a temple to Jupiter Casius. 
According to some accounts, Pompey was mur- 
dered at the foot of Mount Casius. 

1764. Shores ef Philyral This was an island, 
so called from Piiilyra, the daughter of Ocean, 
who lived in this region. Saturn had an amour 
with this nymph ; and being afraid of being dis- 
covered by his wife. Ops or Rhea, while engaged 
with his mistress, he turned himself into a horse. 
The centaur C>hiron was the fruit of this inter- 
course. Pherecydes, says the scholiast, agrees 
with the received accounts : but Suidas, adds he, 
in the first part of his Thessalics, makes Chiron 
the son of Ixion, and brother of Pirithous. — Gr. 

1771. Rhea.'] See the notes of Spanheim, on 
the Hymn of Callimachus to Jove, ver. 36. 

1790. Prometheus.'] A writer named Agretas 


^50 NOTES ON BOOK 11. 

(who is quoted by the Greek scholiast) says, in 
the thirteenth book of liis Scythics, (which was 
probably a history of Scythia) that Prometheus 
was the king of the region ; and that the fable of 
his liver being devoured by an eagle, arose from 
the circumstance of the most fertile part of his 
territory being overflowed by a river called 
Aietus, a word which in Greek signifies also an 
eagle ; and that Hercules, on his arrival in the 
.country, dug a channel to receive the waters of 
the river, by which means he reclaimed the dis- 
trict j and was said, in consequence of his exer- 
tions, to have freed Prometheus from his bonds. 
Theophrastus says, that the fable of Prometheus 
having bestowed fire on men, arose from his be- 
ing a man of great wisdom and knowledge, who 
^rst communicated to them the lights of philo- 
sophy. Herodorus gives a different account. He 
says, that Prometheus was a king of Scythia ; 
and being unable to relieve the pressure of a fa- 
mine, occasioned in his dominions by the inun- 
dations of the river Aietus, he was thrown into 
bonds by the Scythians; but Hercules arriving, 
turned the course of the river, and gave it a free 
passage to the sea. Hence he was said to have 
chased away the eagle, and restored his freedom 
to Prometlieus. Plierecydes, in his second book, 
says, that the eagle which was sent to Prome- 
theus, was produced from Typhon and Echidne, 
the daughter of Phorcj^ ; and, that the liver of 
Prometheus reproduced, by night, a quantity 
equal to what the eagle devoured by day. — (Gr. 
Scho.) Prometheus, who, according to the Greek 
mythology, is supposed to have been the son of 

NOTES ON BOOK it, 151 

lapetus, by Asia, the daughter of* Ocean, is 
thought, from the similitude of names, to have 
been the same with Magog, the sou of Japhet. 
He is said to have brought down fire from heaven, 
because he taught men to work in metais ; and to 
have been chained to a rock, because he applied 
himself to the working of mines, with which the 
mountains iu his neighbourhood abounded. A 
certain writer, called Duris, (quoted by the 
Greek scholiast) says, that the crime for which 
Prometheus was chained and punished on Mount 
Caucasus, was his presumption in daring to con- 
ceive a passion for INIinerva : and that, on ac- 
count of his punishment, the people, in the re- 
gion of Caucasus, do not sacrifice to Jove or 
Minerva, and pay extraordinary honours to Her- 
cules. All these hyperbolical accounts serve to 
show, that Prometheus was a person of extraor- 
dinary learning and wisdom ; the obvious mean- 
ing of his having formed a passion for Minerva. 
The meaning of the eagle preying on him may be, 
that he consumed himself away, and destroyed 
his health, by his sublime studies, particularly of 
astronomy, the eagle being the only bird that can 
gaze on the sun. With respect to these fables, 
the classical reader will find much learning and 
interesting information, by recurring to the Greek 
scholiast on Hesiod, ver. 253, of his Theogony. 
The reader, who considers impartially this tre- 
mendous and truly sublime description of the 
sufferings of Prometheus, will see the injustice of 
the sentence, which would degrade ApoUoniui 
among the writers of tarae insipid mediocrity. 


1809. Argus.'] The Argus here mentioned is not 
Argus the builder of the ship, but the son of 
Phryxus, who, by his local knoM-ledge, was best 
able to pilot the vessel into the mouth of the 
river Phasis. 

1810. Colchis.'} For the boundaries of Colchis, 
see a preceding note at the beginning of those on 
the first book: and for part of it having been 
peopled by an Egyptian colony, see Herodotus, 
as quoted in the note of the present translator, 
book iv. 

1815. Caucasus, says Herodotus, is the largest 
and perhaps the highest mountain in the world 
(Clio 104). It may be considered as a conti- 
nuation of Mount Taurus. This mountain ex- 
tended, according to Strabo, the whole length of 
the tv.'o seas, the Euxine and the Caspian, divid- 
ing, as if it were a wall, the land that lies be- 
tween them. It is the highest mountain in the 
north part of Asia. It commenced above Col- 
chis, and advanced to the Caspian sea. Hero- 
dotus says, that Mount Caucasus bounded the 
northern part of the Caspian sea. There were, 
according to this historian, an infinity of savage 
people who inhabited it, and lived on wild fruits. 
Herodotus, in another place, informs us, that 
Mount Caucasus w as the boundai-y of the Persian 
authority, and that northward of it their name 
inspired no regard (Thaha 97). A multitude of 
rivers rise from Mount Caucasus, and precipitate 
themselves, some into the Caspian, others into 
the Euxine sea. 

1816. jEa.} The capital of Colchis, at the time 



of the Argouautic enterprise, was on the Phasis^ 
about fifteen miles from the Euxiue sea. It is 
called by Pliny, as well as ApoUonius, a famous 
city. Some writers take this to be the same with 
iEopolis, mentioned by Ptolemy. It should seem 
tliat a whole extent of country, as well as the 
city, was termed JEa. Ata, among the Greeks, 
was a general name, siguifjing any land. Among 
the Egyptians and Colchiaos, their descendants, 
it was a proper name. It is to be observed, that 
all the countries, which lie on the north and 
north-east of the Euxine sea, the region of Col- 
chis, and the country at the foot of Mount Cau- 
casus, were of old esteemed to be Scythia, and 
these tlie Greeks considered as the bounds north- 
ward of the habitable world. This name of 
JEa, which belonged to a city of Colchis, was of 
Egyptian origin (a proof, among others, that the 
Colchians were descended from the Egyptians). 
It came from the obsolete word aia, h. e. yockx. 
These people used the term as a proper name 
KaT Efop^^y, on account of the fertility of the 
soil, as if the region were peculiarly and in a 
more emphatic sense, laud. From this Colchian 
or Egyptian appellation, Circe, who was of Col- 
chian race, gave the name of iEa to her island, 
when she settled on the coast of Italy: and 
hence too ^etes, king of Colchos, was deno- 
minated : (tliough Strabo, book i. says, that was a 
usual name among the Colcliicins). 'Aicci<^ also 
was used to signify a Colchian. 

1825. Local deities.] It was customary with 
those who emigrated to distant countries, to offer 
sacrifices of propitiation to the indigenous deities 


of the soil they visited. Thus, it is said, Alex- 
ander the Great, on his reaching the Troade, of- 
fered sacrifices at Ihum to the local deities. 

1827. Propitious.] Safe or easy of approach. 
The word in the original is E7r»5/3oX©-, from 
tVi^scXXu), * to land upon or invade.' See Ame- 
lias in his Glossary. — Gr. Scho. 

1829. AnccBus then.] Orpheus, ver. 757, agrees 
with our poet as to the directions given by 
Ancaeus : 

Ac'A:pict T£ g-iKKnVi &c. &c. 

1829. Cytcean.] Synonymous to Colchian. This 
epithet is derived from Cyta, at the mouth of the 
river Cyaneus, the birth-place of Medea, thence 
by the poets called Cyteis. 

1830. Phasis.] This river does not spring from 
the mountains of Armenia, near the sources of 
Euphrates, the Araxes, and the Tigris ; as Strabo, 
Ptolemy, Pliny, Dionysius, and, after them, some 
modern travellers have asserted erroneously ; but 
rises on Mount Caucasus, and flows, not from 
south to north, but from north to south, as ap- 
pears from the map of Colchis, or Mingrelia, in 
Thevenot's collection, and Sir Jolm Chardin's ac- 
count of the country. This river forms, in its 
course, a small island, called also Phasis ; whence 
pheasants, if Isidorus may be credited, were first 
brought into Europe, and called thence by the 
Greeks, Phasiani. The Argonautic expedition 
gave rise to a proverb, * To sail to Phasis,' to 
denote a long and dangerous navigation. Pliny 


says, that the pheasants were first brought over 
to Greece by the Argonauts. 

1835. The trees above.] This passage seems to 
have furnished Virgil with the same sort of de- 
scription, in the seventh ^Eneid, where he repre- 
sents the Trojans as saiUng up the Tiber, under 
the shade of overhanging trees, ver. 30. 


and kowland, 1 riiiieri. Cot 

•];'eTils compaisa.for thiae aidl^bend. 
.e icrpcm those iae conflicts, ttiat impend. 

Hii-K-nM h Suoaiy, Snai-ce i^JcxZcnJcn . 













l^nteD at tije ^tanijope "^tti^t 

Goswell Strict ; 




Notes and Observations on Book III 5 

, Book IV. 55 









Line 1. Erato.] The poet being about to sing 
the loves of Medea and Jason, Avhicli had such a 
considerable influence on the success of the Argo- 
nautic expedition, with much propriety invokes 
Erato, the muse who was supposed to preside over 
amatory poetiy. Virgil, in imitation of our author, 
invokes the same muse, when he comes to a part 
of his poem where a love-intrigue has a consider- 
able share in the action : ' The wrath of Turnus 
for Lavinia disespoused.' — See book vii. ver. 37, of 
the ^neid — Nunc age, qui reges Erato, &c. The 
Muses are said to preside over the different de- 
partments of science and the fine arts. Clio is 
supposed to have invented history; Thalia (proba- 
bly from ^oiXXoj, germino) agriculture, and the 
knowledge of plants ; Euterpe, the knowledge of 
mathematics ; Terpsichore, the arts of educating 
youth ; Erato, dancing ; Polymnia, playing on the 
lyre ; Melpomene, singing; Urania, astrolocy, and 
the knowledge of the heavenly bodies ; Calliope, 
poetry. Two queries have been suggested, (says 


the Greek scholiast) first, why the poet did not 
invoke the Muses, at the commencement of his 
poem ; and, next, why he singles out Erato, and 
invokes her in preference to the other Muses. In 
answer to the first, he says, that it was natural for 
the poet, at the commencement of the work, ta 
invoke Phebus, the leader and president of the 
Muses ; and besides, it was highly proper to re- 
serve his invocation of the Muses, who were held 
to preside (in addition to the provinces already 
enumerated) over nuptials, and other festive 
solemnities, until he came to speak of incidents 
of that nature. It is said, in some of the Orphic 
hymns, ^Ovltn T^nyoyrai {j.iio-wv (o^oTotf ai yao sac-L 
Kotg«vo<, aicri fjufj-nl^ X°C®^' ^aT-.iai t' ^^alziycti, — 

* Mortals never cease to cultivate the Muses, for 
they are the leaders in the choral dance and 
delightsome festivities.' As to the second point, 
Erato, being the Muse who presided over the 
dance, vvas properly invoked by the poet, when 
he was about to celebrate the nuptials of Medea 
and Jason, to which dancing and other festivities 
were appropriate. Milton, with equal propriety, 
invokes Urania, to celebrate divine subjects : 

Descend from heaven, Urania! by that name 
If rightly then art call'd, &c. 

41. My sire 'produced me.'] Jupiter. Apollo- 
dorus the Athenian has given us a legend of the 
birth of Pallas, which he seems to have borrowed 
from some very ancient poet. * Jupiter, with 
some difficult} , enjoyed Metis, who changed her- 
self into various forms to avoid his embraces. 
When she became pregnant, he swallowed her 


because, he said, she was fated to produce a son, 
after the girl who was first to be born of her, who 
was destined to become the ruler of Heaven, 
Thus Jupiter became pregnant. When the time 
of gestation was expired, Prometheus (or, as 
others say, Vulcan) striking his head with a hat- 
chet, near the banks of the river Triton, Minerva 
sprung from it, ciad in armour.' — (Apollod. lib. i. 
c. iii. vcr. 1. edit. Heyne, p. 11.) This fable seems 
to intimate, by an allegory, that Jove being filled 
with innate wisdom, which is signified by his 
having swallowed Metis, or counsel, displayed his 
wisdom outwardly joined with power, which is 
meant by Pallas. Heyne supposes, that the fables 
respecting Jove and Thetis v/ere afterwards bor- 
rowed from the ancient one respecting Metis. — 
(See note in Apollod. 39, 40). It is observed, by 
the scholiast on ApoUou. ver. 1310, that it was 
first related by Stesichorus, that Pallas sprung 
armed from her fathers head. If this be true, 
the Hynm to Minerva, commonly ascribed to 
Homer, must be more recent than Stesichorus, 
since it mentions this circumstance. It is ol>- 
served by Heyne, (ubi sup.) that several different 
divinities were confounded together under the 
name of Minerva; as the tutelary goddess of 
Athens; and Pallas, a Lybian and Egyptian deity. 

43. Unskilled lam, ^-c] There is a considerable 
degree of affectation and prudery in this speech 
of Mmerva. She professes to doubt the inliuence 
and power of love; and boasts her exemption 
from his sway, in the perfect style and manner of 
an old maid. 

.^5. Erratic isle.] The word, in the original, is 


Plancta, on which a doubt may arise, whether the 
forge of Vulcan must be supposed to be placed 
in an island, called Plancta, or in an island that 
floated : as no island of the name of Plancta is 
mentioned by geographers, the latter meaning- 
seems to be preferable. The forge of the god, 
according to ancient fable, was situated in one of 
the Lipari or Eoliau islands — the names of which 
were Strongyle, Euonymus, Lipara, Hiera, Didyme, 
Encodes, and Phenicodes. Homer says 'uyXoiyKln 
svt vna-cD ; * A floating isle, high rais'd by skill 
divine.' — See, in a note preceding, a quotation 
respecting floating islands. 

65. When her guests.'] ApoUonius has evidently 
taken the hint of this visit of the goddesses to 
Venus, from the application of Juno to that god- 
dess in Homer. Virgil has availed himself of the 
assistance both of Homer and ApoUonius, in the 
part which he assigns to Venus and her son, in the 
plot and machinery of the poem. A more parti- 
cular imitation of our poet will appear in different 
passages of Virgil. — See the passages in the first 
iEneid, where Juno influences jEoIus, and where 
Venus instigates her son Cupid to inspire Dido 
with a passion for i^neas. Virgil seems to have 
had this conversation, between Juno and Minerva 
on the one part, and Venus on the other, parti- 
cularly in his recdliection, when, in the fourth 
book, he introduced a conversation between Juno 
and Venus. The passage in the text of ApoUo- 
nius, which shows the goddess as entering and 
finding Venus employed in combing her locks, is 
imitated by Claudiau ; who says, speaking of 
Veaus : 


Cesariem turn forte Venus subnixa carusca 
Fingebat solio, dextrd kvuqae sorores 
Stabant Idaline, &c. 

87. Ev'n should he try.'] Juno endeavours to 
give the strongest proof of her attachment to 
Jason, by saying that she would befriend him even 
in an attempt to loose Ixion, who had most parti- 
cularly offended and insulted her, and was doomed 
to punishment for a gross outrage against her. — 
(See Hyginus, fab. 62.) Ixion was father to Piri- 

89. Pelias.} Juno, as has been already men- 
tioned, had particular reason for being displeased 
with Pelias, who had neglected her worship : 
'H^n; 'nriXao-yi^^ 'hk aXiyi^tv. And the deities, 
according to ancient mythology, never forgave 
such slights. 

98. In shape deform'd and oZd.] It was the 
opinion of the ancients, that the gods used often, 
for the purpose of proving the piety of men, to 
assume the mortal shape. Thus Homer, Odyss. 
xvii. ver. 485 ; and see Ovid, Met. lib. i. ver. 212. 
See, too, the fable of Baucis and Piiilemon. 

100. / 7n€t the youth.] Orpheus, speaking of 
Juno, says : 

119. Thy son.] There are different genealogies 
of love. Apollonius makes him the son of Venus ; 
Sappho styles him the son of Earth and Heaven; 
Siraonides the son of Mars and Venus : SxErXts 

1$ >K»TE3 ON IM)OK flf* 

T£X£y. * Cruel and deceitful son of Venuy, Whofli 
she bore to treacherous Mars.' Ibycus and Hesiod 
make love tlie offspring of Chaos. In the Theo- 
gouy it is said j * Chronus or Saturn produced 
love, and all the winds.' 

136. Menaces returns.l This passage puts one in 
mind of the fable, which is the groundwork of the 
Adone of Marino. V' enus chastises her son Cupid 
with a rod of roses ; and he, in revenge, pierces his 
mother's bosom with an arrow, and makes hes" 
fall in love vpith Adonis. 

'Conjlagello di rose insieme attortc, 
C" havea grappi de spine cha it percosse, 
E de hei membri onde si dolce sorte 
Fe Ic vivaci porpore piu rosse 
Tremaro i poli e la stellata corte 
A queljiero vugir tutta si mosse 
31osse si il del che piu d'a-mor infante 
Teme il furor, che di Tifeo gigante. 

Adone di Marine*. 

156. Power of love. The circumstances related 
by Apolionius, of Cupid and Ganymede playing 
at dice, and Venus bribing Cupid with a couple 
of golden balls, though they might siiine in an epi- 
gram, or an Anacreontic ode, are too light and 
trivial to be admitted into an epic poem. Prior, 
who has made a most pleasing use of ancient 
mytliology, alludes to this fable in his poem of 
Cupid and Ganymede. It must be allowed, how- 
ever, that there is uncommon prettiness, grace, 
and ingenuity, in the fiction of Apolionius; it is like 
tlie gay and sportive paintings of Albano, which 
are full of little naked laughing loves. 
ioH, The little.'] There is an ambiguity in the 


phrase in the original, 'A-raivsu^E Ai^. It may 
either mean, remote or apart from JovC;, in a 
riowery iuclosure,' or (others being understood) 
it will mean, that ' she found him, apart from the 
crowd, in a flowery inclosnre of Jupiter, peculiarly 
sacred to that deity.' — Gr, Scho. 

159. Ganymede.] Homer says, that Ganymede 
was carried off, not by Jupiter alone, but by all 
the gods ; and he ascribes this act, not to any im- 
proper attachment, but merely to their wish to 
employ him as cup-bearer to the gods. 

Toy aynoii-<l^c6^h ^ioi An haoyovjiiy. 

161. Struck with his beauty.'] This was a Cretan 
fable ; and, as such, Plato takes notice of it in his 
first book on Laws ; and says, therefore, IlavTEs 
civrov KcCl-nyo^aiJL'zV. We all explode and reprobate 
it, for falsity and impudence, according to the 
saying of the poet, K^miq am ^ixj^cA. — ' The 
Cretans always liars.' — Yet, the scholiast on the 
fourth book of the Iliad explains this fable in an 
allegorical sense. — Hcelzhnus. 

164. Wanton.] Or madding, Ma^y*^ 'E§w?> by 
metonymy, because he renders wanton. Thus 
we have frantic Bacchus, and Homer has * pale 
fear.' — Gr. Scho. 

181. Appropriate task.] Thus, Ovid, Remed. Am. 

Et puer es, ?tec te quicquam nisi Indere oportet, 
Lude, decent annos molliu reg7ia tuos. 

184. Beauteous toy.] The poet has made the 
toy or bijou, which Venus offers to her son, a play- 
thing truly worthy of a divinity, and fit to have 
ajuused the sovereign of the gods in hi^ infancy. 


It seems to have been a miniature of an annillary 
sphere. It was composed of a number of con- 
centric circles. 

186. Idcean cave.'\ It is doubtful whether this 
cave was in Crete or in Mount Ida, near Troy ; both 
the Cretans and Trojans claiming the honour of 
giving birth and nurture to Jove in his infancy, as 
Demetrius Scepsius asserts.— (Gr. Scho.) The 
claims of the Phrygians, however, seem to be best 
founded; as they were the most ancient. The 
volumes of Greece and Rome abound with records 
of the Phrygians. Arrian tells us, that they were 
the oldest of mankind. Their religious madness, 
in the worship of Cybele, renders them very re- 
markable in classic story. They \vere also remark- 
able for effeminacy. We have their character 
beautifully drawn by Virgil, in the contrast which 
he gives in the ninth lEueid, between them and 
the ancient Tuscans; ver. 614, et. seq. 

186. Adraste.'} Adraste or Adrastea, together 
with Ida, was the nurse of Jove when an infant in 
Crete. Tliey fed liim with milk of Amalthea. 
Callimachus, Hymn to Jove, ver. 47, says, Se h 
xoijutcfv 'A^^ri'pnco AiKvo) Hvt ^^va-nj. — * Adrastia 
lulled thee to rest in a golden cradle.' This play- 
thing was worthy of an infant Jupiter. 

201. The gathefd plaijthings, Sfc.} Ail this, and 
what follows, is wonderfully pretty and ingenious, 
though not altogether in the taste and style of the 
higher poetry. The puerile manners of Cupid 
are well marked and justly preserved : his eager- 
ness to gain possession of the toy, and the unv^il- 
lingness of Venus to give it until he had actually 
earned it, (as well knowing the malignity and 


duplicity of him she had to deal with) are admir- 
ably characteristic, and finely described. 

L'J?. From the abode of Jore.] In this and the 
folIowinj» verses, the poet imitates a passage of 
Ibycns, in his ode to Gorgias, in which he speaks 
of the rape of Ganymede, and gives a description 
of Tithonus being carried oflF by Aurora. — Gr. 

224. A sloping path.'] It is not improbable that 
Milton, from this sloping path, took his idea of 
the sloping sunbeam bearing the angel downward 
in his passage to earth : ' which (as the poet says) 
bore him slope downwards.' Tlie passages of 
Milton are, Paradise Lost, book iv. 1. bob ; and 
again, 589. 

2i;8. The blmhuig sun.'\ Some copies read t^iv- 
yiixiy as if tlie poet meant to place there the foun- 
tains of light, as Pindar, in his first Pythic ode, 
has "crrjyat s^-uyovlat, ' The springs burst out.' 
Stephens reads i^w^iTxi ; and the passage will 
signify ' tiie sun reddens with his first rays.' 

240. Jason thus.'] The following speech is highly 
in character, and marks the prudent and cautious 
character of Jason. 

264. And mw^deroits rites.] The means by which 
Ino endeavoured to destroy her step-children, the 
offspring of Athamas by Nephelc, were as follows : 
She contrived, by some means, to burn up the 
harvest, and there being a great scarcity in the 
district in consequence, Athamas sent to consult 
the Pythian oracle. The priests, being corrupted 
by Ino, replied, that he must sacrifice his son 
Phryxus. Virgil seems to have formed, on thu 
legend, some of the circumstances of his story of 


SinoH; in the second ^neid : Adytis hac tristiar 
dicta reportat, sanguine placastiSj Sfc. — Gr. Scho. 
and Haellinuc. 

276. Fro7n Circe fam'd, &c.] The Circean plain 
was a large open space of ground near the city of 
^a. It took its name from Circe ; who, accord- 
ing to some accounts, was the sister of i^etes, 
being the daughter of the sun ; according to others, 
the daughter of JEetes and Hecate, and sister of 
Medea. This Hecate was the daughter of Perses. 
Dionysius the Milesian concurs in the latter 
account ; and adds, that two sons were born to 
Apollo, or the sun, in those regions : the name of 
tlie one, Perses ; of the other, ^etes. JEetes 
reigned over the Colchians and the Maeotis; 
Perses, over the Tauric Chersonesus. This prince 
married a certain woman of the country, and by 
her had a daughter named Hecate. Hecate is 
said to have shown an uncommon predilection for 
masculine sports, to have been very much addicted 
to hunting, and to have discovered the properties 
and uses of poisonous and deadly roots and herbs. 
Of this knowledge she availed herself, in poisoning 
her own father ; a parent fit to produce Circe and 
Medea. Circe, the elder daughter, is fabled to 
bave even surpassed her mother Hecate, nor was 
Medea inferior to her. Hesiod makes Circe the 
daughter of the sun, in the veises where he says, 
' Circe, the daughter of the heavenly sun, bore in 
love to the much-enduring Ulysses, Agrius and 
Latinus, blameless and puissant.' — Gr. Scho. 

284. Crude hides.] This is a remarkable passage, 
respecting the funeral rites of the ancient Col- 
chians ; the reader will find it quoted, in a very 


curious article, in the Monthly Magazine for July, 
1802, p. 540. ; a translation of tlie proces verbal 
of the disinterment of the kings and queens of 
France at St. Denis. ' On the nineteenth was 
opened the tomb, which contained the body of 
Lewis Vlir. father of St. Lewis, who died in 
November, 1226. The body had been wrapped 
in a mantle of gold tissue, and in tliis dress had 
been buried, sewed up in very thick leather, which 
still retained all its elasticity.' At St. Germain 
des Pres, a body was discovered, which had been 
buried in a similar manner. But a remarkable 
difference must be observed between the pi-actice 
of the ancient Colchians and the Parisian accounts ; 
the Colchians suspended the dead bodies in the 
air, whereas, by the Parisian account, they were 

290. Various customs.'] These extraordinary rites 
of the Colchians are mentioned by ^lian in his 
fourth book ; the earth and air are said to be the 
principal objects of their worship. 

291. Juno shrouds.] This is imitated from the 
fourth book of the Odyssey, where Pallas spreads 
a veil of thick air around Ulysses : Kock toT 
OdViTaiVi; cij^TO, Sec. 

Propitious Pallas, to secure her care, 
Aroand him threw a veil of thicken'd air-' 

Virgil avails himself of these passages, and makes 
Venus afford a similar protection to /Eneas, on his 
way to Carthage. 

At Venus obscuro gradientes acre sepslt, 
Et multo nebul<£ circum deafudit amictu. 

There is a peculiar propriety in the appropriation 


of this fiction by Apollonius. Juno being made 
frequently to signify tlie air in ancient mytholojjy, 
she is more aptly and philosophically employed in 
producing a cloud and mist than either Minerva 
or Venus. Besides, Jason, who was on a perilous 
enterprise, and exposed to the rage of a jealous 
and ferocious people, had more need of this pro- 
tection than either Ulysses or Eneas. 

305. Four springs.} Compare with this passage 
ver. 68, and the following of the Odyssey, lib. v. 
Tlie description of the grotto of Calypso : 

Four limpid fountains from the clefts distil. 
And every fountain is a separate rill.' — Pope. 

309. Pleiades.] The Greek scholiast here blames 
Apollonius for want of precision, inasmuch as there 
are two risings and two settings of the Pleiades, 
as of all the fixed stars ; the true rising and setting, 
and the heliacal rising and setting : the latter of 
which is more strictly the emersion out of, or 
immersion into, the sun's rays. And the objection 
of the scholiast is, that the poet has not specified 
to us which of them had the effect lie mentions on 
the springs. But, as Hzelzlinus truly observes, if 
we were to analize all poetical descriptions thus 
scrupulously, scarcely any of the ancient writers 
would be free from blame. The strictly minute 
and technical description would betray too much 
exactness, and take off from the dignity and 
poetical spirit of the passage. It would, in fact, 
savour more of the historian, or the naturalist, 
than of the poet. Indeed few modern poets could 
bear this sort of hypercritical observation. The 
Pleiades, from whom the stars in question take 


their name, are said to have been the daughters of 
Atlas, and Plione, who was the daughter of Ocean, 
They are said, by some, to have taken their name 
from their mother 3 but the better opinion is, that 
it comes from a word which denotes fullness or 
pleonasm ; because the appearance of the Pleiades, 
taken together, in their different vicissitudes, indi- 
cate the fulness of the year, as composed of summer 
and winter. They are always said to avoid Orion, 
and pursue a course contraiy to his. The reason 
is given thus : — it is said in ancient fables, that 
Orion having met Plione, with her daughters, in 
Beotia, fell in love with the mother. Their flight 
from his violence was incessant; until, at last, they 
were changed into stars, which still continue to 
fly from Orion. — (Gr. Scho.) The Pleiades were 
called, in Latin, Virgilia ; from the vernal season 
when they rise. They rise about the vernal equi- 
nox, and set in autumn. Some derive tlie name 
of Pleiades from •srXvjiy ' to sail ;' because these 
stars were observed, witli peculiar anxiety, by 
those who were about to sail on voyages; as the 
heliacal rising of the Pleiades was commonly 
attended by storms. These Pleiades are small 
stars, in the neck of Taurus. There were origi- 
nally seven of them, as appears from various 
ancient writers ; but one of them must have dis- 
appeared in the course of time, since at present 
only six of them are observable. The largest of 
these stars is of the third magnitude, and is called 
Lncida Pleiadum, The evening rising of the 
Pleiades— the rising is the appearance of a star, 
9fter having been concealed by the sun ; and the 


evening rising is, when it ap|)ears in the evening 
after the setting of the sun. 

The names of the Pleiades, according to ancient 
mythology, were Maia, Electra, Taygetc, Asterope, 
Merope, Halcyone, and Cetano. They were called 
Atlantides, from their father Atlas. They were 
carried off, it is said, into captivity, by Busiris, 
king of Egypt. Hercules, having conquered this 
prince, restored them to their father. It was after 
this that they were persecuted by Orion. 

316. Brazen hoofs.'] Pherecydes agrees with 
Apollonius, in saying that these bulls had hoofs of 
forass, and breathed tire. — Gr. Scho. 

317. Plough.] In the original ^AvToyvov. — 
There were, among the ancients, two kinds of 
ploughs, "Avroyvov, which was all of one piece ; 
and TLYiKloVf which had the sock or tail, the part 
into which the coulter or ploughshare was inserted, 
fitted to the pole j that part of the plough which, 
with the yoke, went on the necks of the cattle. 
The cutting part of the plough was called 'wig, 
from vg, a swine, because it turned up the soil, 
like the swine's snout; and, perhaps, resembled it 
in form. The ploughtail, in which the share was 
inserted, was called £Ay//a. The piece of wood, 
which stretched from the plough-tail to the oxen, 
was called yvrig- The part which the ploughman 
held, and on which he leaned, and turned the 
plough, was called \s-o/3oeu,-. The part of the 
yoke which was put on the necks of the oxen was 
called ^EvyXai, or jxia-a-a^cc. Such was the com- 
position of the ':cry)Klov. The ocvroyvovj as has been 
already observed, had the pole and ploughtail all 
in one piece. — (Gr. Scho.) The reader will find 


an ample description of a plough, in the Works 
and Days of Hesiod, ver. 127. — And see the 
Georgics of V^irgil, lib. i. ver. 169 and 199 : and 
the learned notes and disquisitions of Professor 
Heyne on the passage ; where the structure and 
component parts of the ancient plough are criti- 
cally and minutely considered, and various writers 
are enumerated who throw a light on this subject. 
520. Phlegraan.] Phlegra was an extensive 
plain near tlie city of Pallene, in the Chersonese 
of Thrace; or, according to others, in Thessaly ; 
where the battle between the gods and the giants 
is said to have been fought.— (See Gr. Scho.) 
The same region seems to have been called, at 
different times, both Phlegra and Pallene; the 
region of Pallene bore evident marks of the ruin 
occasioned by the intestine commotions of earth- 
quakes and subterranean tires. Hence this place 
was made the scene of the battles between the 
gods and giants. The name of Phlegra was in 
after-times transferred to other places which 
exhibited the ravage of intestine fires j thus there 
were Phlegrsean plains near Cumai in Italy, a 
country subject at all times to shocks of earth- 
quakes ; where some also lay the scene of these 
famous battles of t!ie giants. — See Strabo, book v. 
in different passages. Others place the Phlegraean 
plains, and the combats of the giants, at Tartessus, 
in the extreme western part of Europe. — See 
Heyne, not. in Apoliod. p. 70. 

330. Asterodea.'] The'author of the Naupactica 
calls her Eurylyte. Dionysius the Milesian says, 
that Hecate, (as has been already mentioned) was 
the mother of Medea and Circe. Sophocles assign* 



tliem, as their parent, Neera, one of the Nereids,- 
Hesiod says, * iEctes, son of the resplendent god 
who enlightens mortals by the will of the gods, 
wedded the beautiful Idyia.' Epimenides says, 
that jEetes was a Corinthian by descent, and that 
his mother was Ephyre. Diophanes, in his History 
of Poutus, book i . says, that Antiope was the mother 
of iEetes ; and that Absyrtus was own brother to 
Medea, and the eldest child of ^etes, by Astc- 
rodea, the daughter of Oceanas and Tethys. 

367. Orclwmenus, Sfc.'] Hellanicns agrees with 
our poet, in the circumstance of Athauias having 
lived at Orchomenus. — See Gr. Scho. 

376. Billets sere.'] Milton, ' Ivy never sere/ 
Shakspeare, ' The sere, the yellow leaf.' 

382. The Breeze by rustics.] Virgil describes 
this msect, Georgic. iii. ver. 147. His translator 
uses the word * breeze.' It is also employed by 
Merrick ; version of Tryphiodorus. 

385. Shaft untried.] This passage is imitated 
from the fourth Iliad, where Pandarus is repre- 
sented as shooting an arrow, which had never been 
discharged before, at Menalcas. — See ver. 117. 

404. Smothered braiid.] Apollonius seems here 
to have had in his recollection a passage of 
Homer, Odyss. v. 488. Virgil has obviously 
imitated our poet; in i^neid viii. ver. 408. 

411. Pernicious love.] So Virgil, jEneid iv, 
ver. 67. 

430. Sister Cij-c4.] Our poet, fol! Hesiod, 
says that Phebus conveyed his daughter Circe, iu 
his chariot, to an island which lay on the Tuscan 
coast ; where she settled in Italy, which took the 
name of Resperia, from its western situation, in 


respect of Greece and Asia. The promontory ol' 
Circeura, now Circeii, took its name from Circe. 
See, with respect to this subject, a subsequent 

456. Speech of JEetes.'] The haughty, ferocious, 
inhospitable, and suspicious character of the Col- 
chian king, is well preserved in this passage. He 
does not seem to be inwardly well pleased, even 
■with the retuni of his grandsons. He deigns to 
address them alone ; and examines them very 
strictly respecting their companions. And Lyd- 
gatc makes iEetes give a much more courteous 
reception to Jason. — (See Warton, Hist. Poet. ii. 
p. 89.) When Jason arrives at Colchos, he is 
entertained by king ^etes in a Gothic castle. 
Amadis or Lancelot were never conducted to 
their fairy-chambers with more ceremony or solem- 
nity. He is led through many a hall and many a 
tower, by many a stair, to a sumptuous apartment, 
whose Avails, richly painted with tlie histories of 
ancient heroes, glittered with gold and azure. 

* Through many a balle, and many a ricue towre. 
By many a loorne, and many divers waye. 
By many a gree ymade of marble gray, 
And in his chambre, englosed bright and cleare, 
That siione fiili sbene with gold and with asure, 
Of many image that ther was in picture.' 

Seje Lydgate's Troy Book, a translation from 
Colonna's prosehistory. In Mr. Ellis's Specimens 
of early English Poetry, more lines are quoted, 
descriptive of the ceremonial used by the Colchiuu 


But first of all, tliis mighty man Jason, 
Assigned was by the kiiige anon 
Tor to silte at liis owne borde ; 
And Hercules, ihat was so great a lord. 
Was sette also faste by his side.' 

437. Before his brothers, ^x.] Argus was in haste 
to speak before his brothers, from an apprehension 
that they might be frank and unguarded, and 
make some answer that sliould disclose too much, 
and compromise the safety of Jason and his 
companions, together with their ship. Orpheus, 
in his Argonautics, (see ver. 775) differs some- 
what from Apollonius in his account of the 
meeting of the Minyae and the Colchian king. 
He represents him as terrified by inauspicious 
dreams, calling his children round him, and, hav- 
ing ascended his chariot, hasting to the banks of 
the Phasis, with his daughters, to meet the 
Argonauts : 

2x>i7r?^ov 5' ev ^(^e^Tiv 

As-f§ofl-a»j ixfXov' Ac»w 5' inale^^ev |r)o-cv 

477. Far have they wandered.'} Virgil has imi- 
tated this passage, ^Eneid i. ver. 2. 

511. My table.} The rites of hospitality and the 
table ^vere held sacred among the ancients, in 
the heroic ages particularly. And this spirit of 
hospitality prevails, at this day, all through tlie 
east. Insomuch that among the wandering Arabs, 
who subsist by robbery and violence, if a person 
can contrive to eat and drink with them, he is 
thenceforward respected as a guest, and exempted 
from all danger of outrage. 


516. Lies — blasphemies.'] Because Argus had said 
that Telamon was descended from Jove, and that 
all the followers of Jason could trace tlieir pedi- 
gree to some divine origin. Telamon, in conse- 
quence, shows peculiar resentment. 

526. No hostile purpose.] Virgil has imitated this 
passage, ^neid i. ver. 527. 

568. Thy king.] JEete& lays an emphasis on tlie 
words ' thy king/ to taunt and insult Jason, as 
being his inferior. He reminds him, that he is a 
vassal and a dependent, acting, not fiom himself 
or for his own benefit, but in subjection to the 
commands of another. 

570. Silent the hero.] The picture of the feel- 
ings and conduct of Jason is natural and beau- 
tiful ; and highly characteristic of the prudence 
and good sense which the poet uniformly ascribes 
to his hero. Jason sees all the difficulties of his 
situation. His mind is not free from fear ; but, 
by an eflfort of resolution and prudence, he con- 
quers or conceals his emotion. His answer is 
discreet and short. An inferior poet would have 
thought this a fine opportunity of shining; and 
miglit have put into the mouth of Jason a speech 
full of rant and bravado, and made him accept 
the proffered trial without any hesitation. But 
would this have been equally true to nature ? 

594. JEetes thus.] The ferocity and pride of 
the Colchian king are finely represented here, and 
are happily contrasted with tlie steady mildness 
of Jason. 

603. Held her veil.] The description of Medea 
holding her veil aside, and taking a sidelong and 

2^ NOTES OK BOOK lir. 

Stealthy glance at the graceful stranger, is very 
natural, and beautifully described. 

606. Guest pwsued.] Valerius Flaccns has imi- 
tated this passage, and nearly equalled the ele- 
gance of his original. — Lib. vii. 

Jiespexit que fores, et adhuc invenit euntem; 

Visus, et heu, miserce, tunc 'pulchrior hospes amanti 

Biscedens : tales humeros ea terga reliqtdt. 

607. Dream.'] With eager, yet unavailing and 
painful endeavour — 

Nequicquam avidos extendere cursus 

Velle videmiir, et in mediis conatibus egri 
Succidimus. — Lucretius. 

614. Absent JasonJ] Virgil has followed this 
passage of our author closely, in the fourth book 
of the ;Eneid, ver. 3. 

The following picture of Medea's growing pas- 
sion is not inelegant : 

' For as she sat at meat, though in that tide, 
Her father next, and Jason by her side, 
All suddenly her fresh and rusen hoe 
Full oftetime gau changen and renew. 
An hundred siihes in a little space. 
For now the bloode from her goodly face 
Unto her heart unwarely gan avale ; 
And therewithal she v.axeth dead and pale : 
And eft anon (who thereto gan take heed) 
Her hue returueth into goodly red.' 

It is given by Lydgate, in his Troy Book, and 
quoted by Ellis, in his Specimens of early Englisii 
Poetry, vol. i. 

636. JVhij shovld.'] Valerius Flaccus. has imi- 
tated this passage, book vii. ver, 731 : 


<luid me aulem sic illc movet, superetne labores 
An cadat. 

This whole speech of Medea is liighly affecting 
antl beautiful. 

639. Daughter of Perses.] Hecate. Her mo- 
ther was Asteria. — Apoll. Some make her the 
daughter of Jove. In the Orphic Hymns, her 
genealogy is deduced from Ceres : — * Then Ceres 
bore Hecate the divine.' Bacchyhdes makes her 
the daughter of Night : 

'Evilct da^afcsa TJiCi^ fAiycO^OKoXTra ^vyarto. 

* Hecate, daughter of the torcli-beanng and vast 
bosom'd Night!' Muskus makes her the daughter 
of Asteria and Jove : Pherecydes makes her the 
daughter of Aristeus, the son of Paeon. Some 
books cail the father of Hecate, Perses ; others, 

655. Hast thou net heard, ^c] Tiie poet has 
not given us this conversation, in wliich Argus is 
supposed to have had in viev.', and represented to 
Jason, the magical acquirements of Medea. 

693. Peleus at length.'] The poet seems to have 
had in view that part of the seventh Iliad, ver. 
161 and 199, where Hector challenges some Gre- 
cian champion to single combat. The host is at 
first dismayed ; but, at the reproach of Nestor, 
a number of heroes afterwards arise, and offer 
tliemselves : 

723. From every drug,'] Virgil's description of 
the magical powers of the Ma?sy!ian pries res'!, 


(^neid iv. ver. 487.) is manifestly borrowed froii 
the passage in the text. 

757. Idas alone.'] Here again the poet shows h, 
attention to the preservation of character, and hi* 
skill in discriminating its shades from each other. 
Pelens and Idas are both brave; but their bravery 
has diiferent features. There is a gallantry and 
generosity about Peleus, while Idas is ferocious, 
envious, and contemptuous. The behaviour of 
many of the Minyse, who are represented as se- 
cretly approving the speech of Idas, is very na- 
tural. The populace aie usually disposed to ap- 
plai d violent counsels. 

768. Deep resentmejii.l It appears that Jason 
was moved with an extraordinary degree of 
shame and indignation, at the sconiful and insult- 
ing manner in which Idas spoke. 

798. Son of Maia.] Virgil has imitated this pas- 
sage in the first JEneid, ver. 303. The son of 
Maia is dispatched by Jupiter to render Dido fa- 
vourable to the Trojans. 

Regina quietttm 

Accipit in Teucros animum, mentemque henignam. 

821. Sole cause of fear.] The confidence of 
^etcs, that no danger could possibly arise to 
him from his daughters, the very source of his 
danger, is uncommonly artful aud happy, and 
truly in the spirit of tragedy. The passage before 
us reminds us of that in Shakspeare, wher* he 
says, after having experienced the unkindness of 
Gonerill : * Yet have I left a daughter — I can be 
happy — I can stay with Regan — I and my hun- 
dred knights,' 


843. Visions.] The dream of Medea is beau- 
tifully imagined, and highly natural. It is made 
up of circumstances, which might be supposed 
to have occurred to the miud of Medea \\hile 
she was waking: at tlie same time, it is well 
calculated for disposing her to pursue the conduct 
which, in fact, she afterwards adopts. The dream 
of Eve, in Paradise Lost, has the same apposite 

873. But why.] The solicitude of Medea, to 
impose on herself, and blind her eyes, even to her 
own motives and feelings, by ascribing to sisterly 
affection what she does, under the influence of 
her passion for Jason, is very natural; and shows 
that Apollonius had a profound knowledge of the 
human heart. It is also very ingenious, and well 
imagined in the poet, to make the love of Chal- 
ciope for her children subservient to the plot of 
the fable. She is thus induced to meet the wishes 
of her sister half way. And this concurrence of 
Chalciope, in the secret views of Medea, and 
even anticipation of her unsettled designs, em- 
boldens the latter to give way to her passion 
without control ; and to reveal to Jason the se- 
cret of lier heart, at which she herself at first 
started with abhorrence. 

889. Trembling steps.] Orpheus, in his Argo- 
nautics, gives a very different account of the 
feelings and behaviour of Medea ; and, certainly, 
by much a less natural and interesting one, Or- 
pliens, indeed, represents the Colchian princess as 
a bold and forward wanton, without any sense of 
decorum. (See Orph. Argon, ver. 874.) He ex- 
hibits her there as possessed with amorous fury ; 


going unsolicited and boldly to the ship, and of- 
fering herself to the wishes of Jason ; as disre- 
garding alike the anger of her father, and the ties 
of shame ; as throwing herself on the neck of 
Jason, and kissing his face and bosom : 

How much has the poet improved on this, by in- 
troducing the conflicts of Medea with her fatal 
passion ! How much more beautiful and interest- 
ing, and, at the same time, more consonant to 
the decorum of the female character, and to the 
dignity of a princess, as well as more agreeable 
to probability, is the conduct of the enamoured 
virgin, as delineated by Apollonius ! 

935. That I and mine might flee.'] This speech 
of Chalciope is very artfully introduced, to en- 
courage Medea in her passion. The idea of fly- 
ing away to some distant region, where she 
might never more expect to see her lather's roof, 
or hear the name of Colchos, is calculated to ren- 
der Medea more communicative, and serves to 
prepare the way, and dispose her to the thoughts 
of flying with the Argonauts. The sliare which 
Apollonius here ascribes to Chalciope, in leading 
her sister to disregard the voice of prudence, and 
concur in the wishes of Jason, seems to have 
suggested to Virgil the part which he ascribes to 
Anna, the sister of Dido, in making her the chief 
instrument by which the queen is brought to 
abandon herself blindly to her fatal passion. 

947. The answer of 3Iedeu.] There is much ar- 


lilice and ingenuity shown by the poet in the 
speeches of the two sisters; each doubtful of the 
other, and not fully acquainted with her secret 
feelings and disposition. Thus there is a sort of 
trial of skill between them : the one, actuated 
by maternal tenderness and anxiety for the safety 
of her children ; the other, by love. The su- 
perior artifice of Medea, however, prevails ; and 
she has the address to make the proposal, for 
their assisting Jason, come from Chalciope; and 
to make her sister offer what she feared to 

974. To vex thy rest.l Virgil has imitated these 
lines in the fourth ^neid, ver. 385 : 

Et cumfrigida mo7-s animd seduxcrlt artus, 
Omnibus umbra locis adero, dabis wiprohe pocnas. 

The ancients had the same popular superstition 
which yet prevails so generally, that the spirits 
of departed persons return to earth, to haunt and 
plague those who injure and oppress them. Such, 
according to Horace, was the power of the 
Manes. Apuleius, in his book on the god of 
Socrates, explains at large the power of the soul, 
in its state of separation from the body. 

989. Earth.'\ Here the word is taken to signify 
* earth,' as a divinity. 

1014. Th'jsons.] How beautiful and natural are 
the sentiments and conduct of Medea! With 
what art and delicacy does she endeavour to im- 
pose on her sister and herself, and to set down 
the part which she acts to the account of na- 
tural affection ! This is a delineation worthy of 


1016. Daughter.] Chalciope being so much 
older than Medea, that she had assisted in hei 
education ; tlie latter naturally says, that she con 
siders her in the light of sister and parent at 

1033. Now Night.] Compare with this, Virgil's 
famous description of night, in the fourth book of 
the iEneid, ver. 522. It is not easy to decide 
between them. The description of Virgil is in 
a higher tone, more grand aud majestic; that 
of our poet is more amiable, more tender, and 
affecting. The circumstance of the fond mother 
even ceasing to mourn her lost children, is very 
sweet and natural. In fine, Virgil has imitated 
ApoUonius so happily as to leave it doubtful 
whether most praise is due to the original or the 
copy. There is a very beautiful description of 
night in Theocritus, Idyll, ii. ver. 38. Milton 
also has a similar description in Paradise Lost ; 

Silence accompanied, for bird and beast, &c. 

The sweetness and softness of the foregoing line 
are observable. 

1054. Trembling lymph.] Virgil was struck with 
the beauty of this simile, aud has imitated it ; 
JEn. viii. ver. 22. 

But the similies are employed for very different 
purposes. ApoUonius means only to illustrate the 
quick palpitation of Medea's heart, within her 
bosom : Virgil proceeds further, and applies the 
comparison to illustrate the movements of the 
mind ; to show the uncertainty and quickness of 
thoughts glancing from one subject to another. 


1086. For Greece.] Literally the Achaean land. 

Ilii?. Pendulous.] Hanging seems to have been 
the favourite death with the female suicides of 
antiquity. Jocasta dies in that manner in Sopho- 
cles : so does the wife of Cizycas, in the first 
book of our poet. It was natural, however, that 
the alternative of taking poison should occur to 
Medea, who was so skilful in the preparation and 
power of noxious dnigs. 

1127. She ceas'd.] The uncertainty and conflicts 
in the mind of Medea are admirably described. 
How natural too is it, that, at the very moment 
when she is about to destroy herself, all the 
terrors of death, and all the charms of existence, 
should rush upon her mind ! 

11.58. To murk the' approach.] So Virgil, yEn. 
iv. ver. 586. 

1178. Vanished evei-y care.] Either from feminine 
vanity, because slie was delighted to see herself 
look so well in her fine clothes, or because the 
thoughts of love, and the prospect of an interview 
with Jason, banished all other considerations from 
her m.ind. 

1180. Evils of the future.'] When she should be 
despised and rejected by the ingratitude of Jason. 
Poets are fond of these prophetic anticipations. 

1189. Prometheus' name.] Herba Promethea. — 
It was supposed to spring from the blood of Pro- 
metheus, wliich flowed to the ground as the 
vulture preyed upon his liver. This plant was sup- 
posed to possess many extraordinary properties, and 
was much used in magical rites and incantations. 
Its juice was black, its flower something like that 
of the crocus, and of the same colour ; and by 


the description given of the root, which was 
forked, it much resembled the circa or raan- 
dragora. In an allegorical sense, this herb may 
signify reason, which subdues the fiery emotions 
of tlie soul. A similar sense may be ascribed to 
the Moly of Homer; the golden bough of Virgil; 
the K^rthij.vov, or fillet of Ulysses ; the Porphyris 
of Agamemnon ; Valerius Flaccus (book vii. 
ver. 356) has introduced r»Iedea as employing this 
herb in incantations. Propertius talks of a potent 
herb, which he calls Promethean, the eifect of 
wiiicli was to produce antipathy and hatred. 

Invldue siimus: num me deus obrult ? an qua 
Secta Protnctheis dividlt herbajugis. 

The mention of these opinions of the ancients, 
respecting the power of herbs, in charms aiwl 
incantations, shows that they are not unlike the 
popular opinions which prevail very generally at 
this day. The reader can hardly avoid recol- 
lecting, on this occasion, the beautiful fiction in 
the Midsummer's Night Dream of Shakspeare, 
respecting the use of the two flowers ; one of 
which had the power of producing love, the other 

ll'Jj. Persephone.'] It is, in the original, * Sole 
begotten' Daira, quasi Daiera, from the Greek 
verb ^atsiv, * to bum,' from the light of torches, 
which were used in the solemn rites of Hecate. 
* To whom the secret flames of midnight torches 
bmns, mysterious dame.' 

1201. Caucasian.] Caucasus is called, by Pro- 
pertius, the Promethean mountain, because Pro- 
metheus was there chained : and the magic lierl;s. 


for wbicli it was famous, were said to have sprung 
from bis blood. See a preceding note. 

1-212. CoryciiimJ] A mountain and district of Cili- 
cia, where the best salfrcn was anciently produced, 
Strabo mentions it in his fourth book. The juice 
of this root was preserved, in shells, from the 
Caspian strand, because that shore was supposed 
to produce cockle-shells of an uncommon size. 
The poet, to excite the attention of the reader 
and create a greater interest, makes every thing 
respecting the charms and medicaments of Medea, 
extraordinary and marvellous. — See Gr. Scho. 

1214. Brimo.'] Hecate was called Brimo, which 
means something tremendous and appalling, from 
the spectres and phantasms which were supposed 
to be attendant on her; the word conies from 
/S^i, ' intensitive ;' or, perhaps, the name may be 
derived from (3§o[jt.(B^, the noise of fire. 

1221. Plant of Titan.] So called, because it 
sprang from the blood of Prometheus, who wa? 
of the race of Titans. — Gr. Scho. 

1224. Screams.] Hence seems to have arisen 
the vulgar tradition, that screams and lamentable 
cries are heard, when the roots of ir-^ndrakes arc 
phicked out of the ground. Shakspeare alludes 
to this notion wlien he says, 

Shrieks like mandrakes torn out of ihe eartb. 

1235. Parthenius.] A river of Paphlagonia ; $o 
called from Diana, tlie goddess of chastity. 

123c". Amnisus. A river and city of Crete, sa- 
cred to Dian. — See Callimachus (Hymn to Arte- 
mis, ver. 1.5.) 

1237". Virgin Dian.] Apollonius has imitated 


this simile, from the sixth book of the Odyssey. 
Homer there appHes it to Nausicaa, with her fair 
attendants. Virgii has endeavoured to improve 
botli on Homer and Apollonius; when, speaking 
of Dido and her train passing through Carthage, 
he says, 

Quails hi Eurotec rlpis out perjuga Cynthi 
Exercet Diana choros, qvam mille secutce 
Ilinc atque glomerantur Oreades. 

The simile of Apollonius is more original and 
ingenious ; and, at the same time, more apposite 
and descriptive, than that of Virgil. The Latin 
poet merely describes a beautiful woman, with a 
numerous train of attendants. In our poet all 
the circumstances concur most exactly. Diana 
is a virgin, so is Medea ; the princess is borne 
rapidly along, so is the goddess; and, in both 
cases, the attendant nymphs run after their mis- 
tresses. The circumstance of the beasts sporting 
and gambolling, at sight of the goddess, is very 
noble and beautiful. Milton, it appears, was 
peculiarly struck with it ; and has imitated it in 
his Paradise Lost, where he represents the beasts 
fawning round our first parents in Paradise. 

1291. Endowments rare.] This passage is imitated 
by Ovid, Met. lib. vii. ver. 84. Apollonius him- 
self has imitated a passage in the Odyssey ; 
where Homer represents Minerva improving the 
appearance of Ulysses, and adding grace and 
majesty to his form. Virgil, in imitation of 
Homer and Apollonius, makes Venus adorn her 
son. iEneid i. ver. 589. 

l^OS. Claps her sable wing\] This passage is 


^exquisitely fanciful and elesjant. In what a truly 
poetical manner does our author contrive to tell 
us, that it occurred to Mopsiis, that it would be 
proper to leave his frieud alone, to meet the 
lady ! 

1350. Bright as Sinus.] Nothing can be more 
happy or illustrative than this simile ! The beauty 
and splendom- of Sirius, joined with his supposed 
pernicioiis influence on health and life, are finely 
compared with the appearance of Jason, resplen- 
dent in youth and beauty, which was to be 
attended with such fataf consequences to the 
peace and happiness of Medea; the smoothness 
and sweetness of versification, in the original, are 
beyond all praise. 

1362. Her feet beneath.] The description of the 
emotion and confusion of Medea is highly beau- 
tiful and natural ; and shows our author's knovv- 
led^e of the human heart. I am, perhaps, to 
bla.iie in repeating the same remark so often ; 
but T am anxious to do justice to a poet who has 
been too nmcii neglected. 

1369. peaceful heads.] Valerius Flaccus 
has imitated this passage, book vii. ver. 403. It 
is a veiy fanciful and original simile^ 

1406. Climes remote.] In the original, * Wlien 
they shall return to Hellas;' which properly 
means that part of Thessaly called Ptiiiotis : for 
it is to be recollected, that most of the Argonauts 
were, like their leader, Thessalians. 

1417. Ariadne.] Daughter of Minos, king of 
Crete and Pasiptiae ; Jason artfully introduces the 
mention of Ariadne, wiio saved Theseus from 
Ijenshiiig in l>is enterprise at Crete, and after 



sailed away with him ; as an example and encou- 
ragement, to lead Medea to assist the Argonauts, 
and accompany them aftenvards in flight. He 
conceals, however, the subsequent part of the 

1425. Garland.] The cro%vn of Ariadne is a con- 
stellation, supposed to be formed by tlie garland 
of that princess, which was placed in Heaven. 
The lines of Catuljus, on the meeting of Theseus 
and Ariadne, deserve a place here. 

Cyuptier Pet. J 

Mdsnanimtifti ad Mhwa lenit scdesque stiperbas, 
IJunc siinut ac cupido anxpexit lumine lirgo 
Hegla, quam suaiii expirans custus vdores 
Lectulus, In jnulli complexu matris alehat. 
Qnalis Eurotce progignunt Jiuniina myrtos, 
Aarave dist'mctos educit lerna colores 
No?i priits ex illojlagrantia decimavit 
Lumina, quam cuncto ccncepit pectore Jlammum 
Funditus, utni<e imis exarsit tota nudiUls, 
IJei miscre exagitafis iinmiti cor di furores, 
Sancte puer, curis homintun qui gaud ia fnisccs, 4c. 

1439. Tried in tain.'] Valerius Flaccus has imi- 
tated this passage, book vii. ver. 433. 

1444. Dew drops.] This passage is imitated from 
one in the Odyssey : lav^-n uatt cs. Trf^t TO-'X^^cra-iv 

1474. Daughter of Perses.] Hecate, or the 
goddess wiio presided over the moon, was called 
* sole-begotten,' because, says the annotator on 
Hesiod, the moon was thought by the ancients, 
(though in this tliey were mistaken) to be tlie only 
celestial body of the kind. 

1481. Turn tkij head.] It was held to be highly 
irreverent and indecorous, and to be attended 


■with fatal consequeuces, to interrupt the rites of 
sacrifice, when once tliey were commenced, on 
any pretence whatsoever. We have a remarkable 
instance of the firmness and presence of mind of 
a Roman, who was tokl that his son was dead just 
as he was engaged in sacrificing. 

1496. Its force is bounded by a single day.] It is 
very surprising, that the leanied and accurate 
Heyne, in his notes on Apollodorus, p. 203, 
should have over-looked this passage of our 
author ; and asserted, that it is not to be found in 
ApoUonius, that the efficacy of the medicament 
was confined to one day. — Sed quod medicamenti 
per unum tantum diem efficax vis fuit in Apollonio 
non legitur. 

1520. Remember me.'] This passage is very 
affecting. Valerius Flaccus has imitated it, lib. iv. 
ver. 475. 

15-27. iTho is that virgin.] It is very artful in 
the poet to make Medea inquire particularly 
about Ariadne. It shows that her conduct had 
made an impression on her mind ; and furnishes a 
pretty brosd hint to Jason, to lead him to pro- 
pose the example of the flight of Ariadne, as a 
pattern for the imitation of jMedca. 

1545. Hamonia.] Thessaly so called. Hella- 
nicus (says the scholiast) relates, that Prometheus 
reigned in Thessaly, and erected there an altar to 
twelve gods. This region is watered by a variety 
of rivers, of wliich the four most remarkable are 
the Peneus, the Apidanus, the Panisus, and the 
Enipeus. — Gr. Scho. 

1546. Deucalion.] Here ApoUonius, according 
to the generally received opinion, supposes Dcu- 


calion to liave been a native of Greece. He xva^ 
the son of Prometheus, the son of lapetns, and 
of Pandora, (as Hesiod asserts in t!ie first of his 
catalogue, says tlie Greek scholiast) ; by his wife 

Pyrrha, Deucalion had a son named , who 

jjave an appellation to the country where he 
lived. The poet represents Deucalion as the first 
of men through Avhoni religious rites were re- 
newed and cities founded. Philo is of opinion, 
that Deucalion was the same person with Noah. 
The scholiast makes it doubtful who was the 
mother of Deucalion by Prometheus. He enu- 
merates four persons of the name ; a second, who 
is mentioned by Hellanicus; a third, the son of 
Minos, who is mentioned by Pherecydes ; a 
fourth, the son of Abas, of whom Aristippus speaks 
in his Arc adics. — See the Greek scholiast. 

1549. Hcsmonia.l Thessaly was at first called by 
this name. It had also other appellations. It 
was called Pyrrodia, from Pyrrha, the wife of 
Deucalion. Rhianus says, ' Thessaly was called 
Pyrrha by the ancients, from Pyrrha, who in old 
times was the wife of Deucalion.' It was called 
iEmonia, from ^Emon, the eldest son of Pelasgus j 
and Thessalia, from Thessalus, the son of ;Emon. 
Thessaly was divided into four regions — Pela- 
giotis, Thessaliotis, lolcitis, and Pthiotis. It 
was a region abounding in poisons, and frequented 
by witches and enchanters. 

1553. Mimjas.l He is called ^olian, not as 
being the immediate offspring of ^olus, but as 
being descended from his stock. Sisiphus, the 
son of iEolus, had two sons, Almus and Por- 
phyrion. Minyas, the builder of Orchomenus, 


was the son of Neptune, by Clirysogone, the 
daughter of Alnnis : thus he was a descendant of 
i^olus, by the mother's side. — Gr. Scho. 

1556. Cadmus.] On the report of the rape of 
Europa, her father, Agenor, sent every where in 
search of her ; and particularly ordered his son 
Cadmus not to return until he had found her, 
Cadmus, having traversed a great part of Greece, 
without gaining any intelligence of his sister, 
settled at last at Thebes. 

1563. Oh might /] How artfully and delicately 
does Jason gradually prepare the mind of Medea, 
and lead her on insensibly to give her consent ta 
elope with him and his companions, by dwelling 
on the example of Theseus and Ariadne, and 
wishing that the father of Medea might consent 
to their union ! Jason artfully conceals the subse- 
quent part of the story of Ariadne, and designedly 
passes over, in silence, the ingratitude and deser- 
tion of Theseus. 

1582. Bird propitious, 4'<^.] There is a wish 
somewhat similar to this in Theocritus : At^^ 

yevoifjictv ct ^cfji^mca /-tsXiara xa» 1; tsov avrjov txo)|u.av. 

The reader will find an exquisite description of 
such an aerial conveyance as Medea wishes for in 
the Cupid and Psyche of Apnleius. 

1593. Wish not, my fairest.^ The reply of 
Jason here is truly tender and insinuating : and 
there is wondeiful delicacy and decorum, at the 
same time, in the thoughts and expressions. 

1647. Limbs spontaneous.'] That is to say, with- 
out the concurrence of her will, or impulse of 
volition ; as if she were unconscious of what she 
did, and even by a sort of mere mechanicai 


motion. It is very natural in Apolloiiius, to mak^ 
Jason, wIjo was not so completely enamoured as 
Medea, and had liis mind tilled with thoughts of 
obtaining the fieece, the first to take notice of 
their situation, and to propose their parting. 

1659. Down on an humble seat, ^-i,-.] The con- 
flict of passion, and the fluctuation of purposes, 
in the mind of Medea, are finely depicted. It is 
the same kind of representation which strikes us 
forcibly in the Macbeth of Shakspeare. 

1667. Attendants.^ Mopsusand Argus, who had 
remained, and waited for him during his con- 
ference with Medea. 

1673. Idas alone.'] The contentious, unmanage- 
able, and envious character of the ferocious Idas, 
is here well preserved. 

1686. Aonian snake.'] Boeotian. Boeotia was 
anciently called Aonia; and Thebes, Ogygian; 
from Ogyges, who anciently reigned there. Co- 
rinna says, ' that Ogyges was the son of Bceotus, 
and that from him the gates of Thebes were 
called Ogygian.' Lysimachus, in the first book 
of his Thebaics, relates many wonderful stories, 
and much miscellaneous matter, respecting the 
arrival of Europa and Cadmus at Thebes.— Gr. 

1687. Cadmiis.'] Hellanicus, in the first book of 
his Phoronis, relates, that Cadmus, by the direction 
of Mars, sowed the teeth of the dragon which he 
had slain : whence five armed men were produced ; 
Oudeus, Cthonius, Pelor, Hyperenor, and Echion. 
But ApoUonius supposes their number to have 
been very great, and that they mutually engaged 
and slew each other in war. In the third book of 


the Titanograpliia of Musa;u<, it is sai.!, that 
Cadmus proceeded, in obedience to the Delphic 
oracle, to journey, with a heifer for his tuide, 
Hippias the Delian, in his ' Derivations of the 
Names of Nations,' says, that a certain nation, 
to whicii he came, were called Sparti ; and in 
like manner Atromelus speaks. Pherccydt :, in 
his fifth book, says, * When Cadmus built his 
settlement in Thebes, Mars and Minerva gave to 
him half of the teeth of the serpent, the other 
half to ^tes. Cadmus sowed those which he 
received in the furrow, by the directions of 
Mars : and being struck with terror, when the 
armed men began to spriag up, threw stones at 
them ; at which they, supposing tiiat tiicy were 
struck and attacked by each other, engaged in 
fight, until they were all exterminated, except 
five, Oudeus, Cthonius, Echion, Pelor, and Hype- 
renor, whom Cadmas saved, and settled as colo- 
nists and denizens 5 assigning to them iii-bitations 
in his newly founded city of Thebe;5.' Such is 
the account given by the Greek scholiast. I have 
presented the reader with the passa^'e thus at 
length, because he quotes different works of 
ancient writers, of which no fragment has reached 

1637. 02:1/^10.1 This was one of th?^ ancient 
names of Baotia. It was derived eitli.r from 
Ogyges, an ancient sovereign of that country, in 
whose time tlie famous deluge happened; or 
rather from Ogygis, Avho, (see Apoliod. edit. 
Heyne, 197,) was one of the daughters of Ani- 
phion,by Niobe,the daughter of Tantalus. Ogygia 


was also the name of an island in the Tyrrhenian sei,- 
which was the residence of the goddet-s Calypso. 

1707. Now hehinil earth.'] He moans here that 
the sun sunk beneath the liorizon. T!te poet 
seems to suppose, that the confines of Etliiopia' 
bounded the two heniisplieres. The ignorance of 
the ancients in geography was very extraordi- 
nary. It appears, that Herodotus did not believe 
that the earth was of a globular form. In Mel- 
pomency 36, he says, ' I cannot but think it 
exceedingly ridiculous to hear some men talk of 
the circumference of the earth ; pretending, with- 
out the smallest foundation or probability, that 
the ocean enconipasses the earth ; and that the 
earth is round, as if mechanically formed.' 

1689. Cadmus,'] Some writers make Cadmus 
the son of Agenor,other.«iof Phcenix; Pherecydes, 
in his fourth book, says, ' Agenor, the son of 
Neptune, married Daniuo, the daughter of Belus ; 
from her sprung Phanix and Isca, who was mar- 
ried to Egyptus and Melia, who was married to 
Danaus. Afterwards Agenor attached himself to 
Argiope, the daughter of the river Nilus, by whom 
he'had Cadmus.' — (Gr. Scho.) Apoliodorus (lib. 
iii.) speaks thus of Cadmus : * Agenor was the 
brother of Belus, and son of Neptune and Libye. 
He married Telephessa, by whom he had a daugh- 
ter named Europa, and three sens, Cadmus, Phoe^ 
nix, and Cilix. Cadmus was accompanied, in his 
vvandermgs, by his mother Telephessa, Thasus, 
t.he son of Neptune, or, as Pheiecydes says, of 
Cilix, and Phcenix. The latter, finding his search 
liuitless, settled in the region which, from him^ 


was called Phenicia. Cilix settled also iu the 
same neighbourhood, and gave his naii^e to the 
country of Cilieia. Cadmus and Telephessa 
resided iu Thrace, as did also Thasus, who built a 
city, which bore his name. Here Telephessa 
died, and was buried by Cadmus. After this he 
proceeded to Delphi, to inquire concerning 
Europa. The god desired him not to trouble him- 
self about Europa, but to follow a heifer as hi* 
guide, and build a city wherever she should fall 
down with weariness. Cadmus departed, and fol- 
lowing the steps of a heifer, which belonged to 
the stalls of one Pelagon, was conducted by her 
into Bceotia, she lay down in the place 
where Thebes now stands. Being desirous to 
sacrifice this heifer to Minerva, Cadmus sends 
some of those who accompanied him to procure 
water from the fountain of Mars. A serpent, who 
guarded thi- sacred spring, attacked and killed most 
of those who were sent. Cadmus, enraged at 
this, killed the snake. The armed men, wlio were 
produced by sowing the dragons teeth, were 
called Sparti. After this, Jove gave him as a 
wife, Harmonia, the daughter of Mars and Venus ; 
and all the gods, leaving heaven, came to partake 
of the nuptial festivity, at the citadel of Thebes.' 
— See Apoliod. edit. Heyne, vol. i. p. 173, 174, 
175; 184, 185,186. 

1712. Fix'd on heaven.'] .Tason kept his eyes 
fixed on the stars with anxious attention, to watch 
the progress of the night, that he might not let 
shp the hour appointed by Medea. 

1719. Solemn rite.'] The rites of Hecate bore 
some resemblance to those which, in more moderii 


times, have been practised by sorcerers, who 
have pretended to raise the dead, or to call up 
evil spirits from t!ie infernal regions. Tlie pas- 
sage in the text, which is very sublime, seems to 
have struck the imagination of Virgil most for- 
cibly. He alludes to it in various places. He- 
fcatc (the same with the moon, or Diana,) was 
so called, because she was appeased with heca- 
tombs ; or from the power she was supposed to 
possess, of obliging those who were un buried to 
wander a hundred years. There may be a third 
etymon of tlie name, from the Greek eKcx,;,procul 
— from the awful and mysterious attributes of the 
goddess, and her repulsion of the profane : Frocul, 
O proculf est e prof ani. Virgil applies to this god- 
dess the epithet of Tergemina ; and Horace, that 
of Triformis ; to denote her threefold character 
and functions. She was called in heaven, Luna, 
or the moon; on earth, Diana; in hell, Proser- 
pina, Hecate, and Brimo. It is under the latter 
character that she is made, by the poet, to show 
herself on the present occasion. It is not extra- 
ordinary that Diana, under her character of tlie 
moon, should be invoked by women in child-bed, 
because the moon has a considerable influence 
over persons in that situation ; but it is rather 
strange that Diana, the goddess of chastity, should 
be represented as promoting the success of illicit 
amours. However, mythologists inform us, that 
Diana and Venus were one and the same divinity. 
The scholiast on Theocritus says, it was custo- 
mary with men to invoke the sun ; with women, 
the moon, for success in amours. 

1711. Snakes with oaken.'} That Hecate was 


crowned with snakes, entwined with oaken boughs, 
appears also from Sophocles j who, in his pla^; 
called Rizotomi, has introduced tlie ciioms, say- 
ing, ' O sun, tiou lord of li;;ht, and thou, sacred 
tire of Hecate, invoked beside the beaten paths, 
her radiant darts fly numerous through Olympus, 
She appears, on earth, in the sacred spaces, 
where three roads meet, having crowned her 
head with oak, and many spires of serpents are 
Coiled upon her shoulders.' — 'EXjf c-za-T:olcc -aca zjvp 
t£§ov £tvo^i« E>caT»);, .Sfc. (Gr. Scho.) Apollodorus, 
as quoted by Athenceus, (lib. vii.; says, tliat the 
Trigla, or mullet fish, which was so caUed its 
breeding thrice a year, was sacrificed to Hecate, 
on account of the similitude of name, Hecate 
being called Trimorphus. The pedigree of Hecate 
is vaiiously deduced by various writers. — See 
Sch. Apoll. 8(37—1034. Sch. Theoc. 2. 

1748. Phasis.'] This river is called Amarantian, 
fiom the Amarantii, a race of Barbarians beyond 
Colchis, in whose country, according to some, the 
river Phasis springs. There is also a mountain of 
Coldiis called Aniarantium, whence the Phasis 

1757. Phlegrean BIimas.'\ Mimas was one of 
the Titans, or earth-bora brood, which engaged 
witli the gods in combat at Phlegra, near Pallene, 
in Thrace ; or rather in Thessaly. 

1767. The king excepted.'] In imitation of Ho- 
mer's description of the weight and size of the 
spear of Aciiilles_, and of the difficulty of bending 
the bow of Ulysses. 

1769. Fair Phaeton.'] Timonax, in his second 
book of Scythics, agrees with our poet in saying. 


that Absyrtus had also the name of Phaeton. — 
Gr. Scho. 

1776. The Icings like."] This description of 
iEetes is very subUme. The comparison of the kiuf* 
to Neptune, like all those of Apolloniu*;, excels 
in propriety, and quadrates in every circumstance. 
The vast strength of the god of Ocean illustrates 
that of ^otes ; both the deity and the prince are 
awful in their appearance, and stern in their 
nature ; they are borne in their chariots ; and 
they proceed to view the spectacle of severe con- 
tests of strength exerted to win an important prize. 

1777. Isthmi(i7i games.l These games were cele- 
brated on the isthmus of Corinth, whence they 
took their name. They were celebrated every 
three years. They were held at first in honour of 
Neptune, and afterwards of Melicerta, by the 
orders of Sisyphus, the son of Eoius, who at 
that time was king of Corinth ; Vv'hen, seeing the 
body of MeUcerta thrown ashore by the waves at 
Corinth, he perceived that it was the corse of his 
nephew, the son of Athamas, the son of Eolus, 
and associated him in a share of the honour of 
these games. Musaeus, in his work on the Isth- 
mian games, says, which is most probable, that 
there were two sets of games on the Isthmus ; 
the first, in honour of Neptune ; the latter, in 
honour of Mehcerta. The crown, in the Isth- 
mian games, was originally of pine. It was after- 
wards made of parsley. — Gr. Scho. It appears 
from Pindar, that Isthmian games, or rather 
games in imitation of Isthmian, were celebrated 
at Syracuse ; the people of which city were a 
Corinthian colony. The isthmus of Corinth was 


a very narrow neck of land, which separated the 
Egean and Ionian seas, as those inlets of the 
Mediterranean were called. It is said, that the 
people of Corinth, beiui^ atfiicted by the plague 
which ravaged the Istlimus, appHed to the oracle 
tor advice ; in obedience to which, they per- 
formed solemn funeral rites in honour of Meli- 
certa, and established games to his memory. — 
(See Pindar, second Nemean Ode, third Strophe.) 
There is a description of Neptune proceeding to 
the Isthmian games. It was supposed tiiat the 
god was personally present on tliat occasion; and, 
therefore, the young men used to receive their 
divine guest with the joyful sound of tifcs, flutes, 
and other musical instruments. Pindar, in his 
sixth Nemean Ode, alludes to the Istlimian 
games, by the expression Ta-jzo^oTjj Trtsr^ijiit ; by 
which he intimates, that a bull was offered to the 
god, and that these games took place every three 
years. But Pliny makes tlie interval greater. 
Perhaps, in process of time, the period of cele- 
bration had been chantied before the days of 
Pliny. His words are : Isthmus pars altera cum 
ddubro Neptuni quinquennalibus indijto ludls. 

1778. Tanarus.l This was a promontory of 
Laconia. Lerna was a fountain of Argos, sacred 
to Neptune. — Gr. Scho. 

17 79. Onchestus'] This was a city of Boeotia, 
sacred to Neptune. Homer says, 

It seems there was a famous temple of Neptune 
and consecrated grove in this city. It had its 
name, of Hyantian Onchestus, from the Hyantes 


a Boeotian tribe, v,ho were so very rude and bar- 
barous, tliat thence came the name of ' a Boeotian 
swine.' — Gr. Scho. 

1780. Cclmireia.'] Was a place where there 
was a temple of Neptime. Tliis temple had 
formerly belonged to Apollo ; and the Pythian 
shrine to Neptune ; the deities interchanged by 
mutual consent. Tiie Emonian rock was a place 
in Thcssaly, where games were held in honour 
of Neptune. Gerestns was a promontory of 
Euboea. — Gr. Scho. 

1806. As ivhcn the charger.'] One cannot read 
tliis simile without recollecting the fine descrip- 
tion of the war-horse in Job. The Old Testa- 
ment was certainly accessible, nay perhaps familiar, 
to the poets of Alexandria, in the translation of 
the seventy interpreters. It is veiy probable, 
that the fine verses in the text may have been 
suggested by the animated description in the 
Hebrew writer: * Hast thou given the horse 
strength ? hast thou clothed his neck witli thun- 
der ? canst thou make him afraid as a grass- 
hopper ? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He 
paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength ; 
he goeth on to meet the armed men : he mocketh 
at fear, and is not afFiighted ; neither turneth he 
back from the sword : the quiver rattleth against 
him, the gljttering spear and the shield. He 
swalloweth the gr'ound with fierceness and rage. 
Neither believtth he that it is the sound of the 
trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, ha, ha. 
He smelicth the battle afar off— the thunder of 
the captains, and the shouting.' Homer also has 
a simile of a horse ; but it is a horse under a dif- 
ferent aspect, and introduced to illustrate far 


different qualities and ciicnmstances. It is the 
stalled horse, panipered and iuxinious, breaking 
forth troju tiic stable to the pastures and the 
mares : it is employed to exemplify the wanton- 
ness of youth and pride of beauty ; it sho\AS the 
graceful and high-spirited but luxurious Paris, 
breaking forth from the bosom of ease and soft 
indulgence, from the bower of love, ver. 1 : 
'p.; Its ri; rai"*^ it'z'^ ax'-jg-no-a; lyi falvn htrfjiov 
ci-o^rn^a;, &^c. The reader sees that in this com- 
parison, Paris is a very different personage, and 
differently circuuistanced ; and that the iiorse of 
Apolionius appears under a different character. 
Virgil had both Homer and our poet in view, in 
Ills noble description of the horse in the third 
Georgic; that part, particularly, of his noble and 
animated description : 

stare loco nescit, ni'icat avrlhus, et trentlt artus-^ 
Colltctumrve p7'emcns vohit sub narihus ig7iej7i: 

seems to l«2ve been suggested by our poet. 

1056. Sudden from their stalls.'] The talents of 
our poet for the sublime and terrible, appear 
fully in ti:is description of the encounter of Jason 
V'ith the fiery bulls ; which, perhaps, is equal to 
any thing in Homer, or any other poet ancient 
or modern : and ought, singly, to vindicate our 
poet from the charge of insipid mediocrity, so 
unjnstly brought against him by Quintilian and 
Lonirinus. I entreat the reader to pardon my 
solicitiide on tlii« subject. 

] o87. Firmly stridittg.'] The picturesque genius 
of Apolionius is exiiibited fully in this passage. 
Tlio representation of the youthful hero having 


Ihvown aside his shield, incumbent over the fiery 
bulls, now subdued and pressing tlicm down, 
■while he applies and fixes on them the brazen 
yoke, would furnish an admirable subject for 
a painter. 

1910. Goad.'] In the original, Pelasgic goad : 
this was a staff of ten feet in measure, pointed 
at the end, and used both to drive on the team 
of oxen and to measure land, as is remarked by 

Callimachus : 'Ay.^olsoov jcevt^ovte /Sowv -/.at fXiTcov 

asysrj;.—(Gr. Sclio.) With respect to the Pelasgi, 
who are so often mentioned by ancient authors, 
and the epithet Pelasgic, which frequently occurs, 
the reader is requested to consult the note on ver. 
.387 of the fourtii book of this poem. 

19'J9. Dr-agoris teeth.'] The manner in which 
Cadmus happened to kill this serpent was as fol- 
lows : Cadmus having sent his companions into a 
grove, sacred to Mars, to procure water from a 
spring which was there, they were devoured by 
a serpent which guarded it. After this, Cadmus 
slew the monster, and having sown part of his 
teeth, (as has been already mentioned) replenished 
his new city with subjects. Piato, in his treatise 
on Laws, (lib. ii.) has given an ingenious explica- 
tion of this Sidonian fable (as he calls it) of the 
dragon's teeth. He says, ' It is meant to show 
the power which legislators and rulers have, by 
laws and institutions, of infusing a warlike temper 
of mind, and forming a race of soldiers from any 
materials.' Hence he is said to have sown these 
teeth under the direction of Minerva and Mars — 
wisdom and valour. 

1950. Oft he turn'd.] This is a natural and w^ell- 
imagined circumstance. Jason, no doubt, ex= 

tiOTES ON BOOK lit. 53 

jiected that the armed men should spring up 
instantaneously ; and therefore turned, with anxious 
soUcitude, to wait for them. They did not, how- 
ever, spring up instantly, as the hero supposed 
they would have done. 

1956. And shields, ^-c] This description h very 
sublime and fine, and shows great powers of 
imagination in Apollonius. 

1976. JVith mute and blank amaze,'] This, and 
the following lines, are all taken from Eumelus, 
who makes Medea give a description cf this 
event to Idmon. Sophocles' likewise, in his 
Colchides, agrees with our poet. He has intro- 
duced the messenger of ^Eetes, inquiring about 
the foregoing circumstsmces, in the following 
terms, which our poet has also imitated : 'H/Sxac-(^ 

iiK f,3Xas-£v hvniyjjjfif^ y.cti xapra 'ffi^a.g fjXo'S'jj 

' Has not the crop, appropriate to the soil. 
Compacted horrent in well-crested phalanx, 
Sprung up all bright, in brazen panoply?' — Gr, Scho. 

1984. As shoots a star."] The word, in the ori- 
ginal, is avaTraXXsTai — very expressive of the 
sudden and vibratory motion of the falling star. 
Some copies, says the scholiast, have a,7roAa/w,7r£- 
Toti ; but the former reading is more poetical and 
forcible. This simile is as happy and expressive 
as can possibly be imagined, and wholly different 
from the preceding simile, drawn from the dark 
clouds clearing away, and showing the stars by 
night. The suddenness, the brightness, the omi- 
nous appearance of the falling star, are all illus- 



tiative of Jaion, with his shining falchion, falling 
rapidly on the earth-born race. 

1994. As when a land.'] This simile is new ; and, 
as far as I can find^ peculiar to our author. It is 
highly ingenious, and illustrative of the subject. 
The haste and anxiety of the youth to cut down 
the earth-born warriors, before tbey should have 
time to range themselves in battle array ; the 
circumstance of their falling immature, before 
tliey had fully extricated themselves from the 
furrow, are happily designated by the anticipated 
harvests of the alarmed husbandman. 

2018. As youthful plants.'] This simile is imi- 
tated from Homer, M^jcwv §' ug, ^c Virgil has 
imitated our poet, iEueid, lib. ix. ver. 435 ; and 
Ovid appears to have paid particular attention to 
the narrative which our poet gives, of the loves 
of Medea, and the acquisition of the fleece ; Metam. 
lib. vii. ver. 104. Indeed he, in some parts^ 
literally translates Apollonius. 



Line 13. Juno struck icithfear.} Tliis fear was 
inspired by Juno, that Medea, being apprehensive 
of her father's severity, might the more readily be 
disposed to accompany the Argonauts to Greece, 
where the designs of the goddess required her 
presence, as an instrnment of vengeance on Pelias, 
who liad offended her. 

14. Timid deer.] A fawn in the most tender 
state. The word, in the original, is Kf/xac, which, 
the Greek scholiast says, differs from vejS^oc, in 
denoting the animal in a more helpless and infan- 
tine state, while it yet lies in the covert or cave, 
as yet unable to go abroad for food. From thence 
it i«i called Ks/xa,-, quasi Kotjuar, from Koiy-au. — 
Ne/3po,- means a fawn, a little more advanced and 
bigger, which is able to go abroad to seek its food 
and browse ; either from yco-, recens, and /So«a, 
pabuluniy or from vifx^, dispcsco, and /3o^a. — (Vid. 
Gr. Sclio.) In the text Apollonius intimates that 
Ketes lay in wa^t for the Argonauts by night. Thr 


author of the Naupactica, whoever he was, relateSj 
that he was lulled to rest by Venus. 

As tot' C4g *Ai»7T»J TToS'OV (fJ.&a'Ki 5< *AfpoJiT»i 
'Evfv'Kvlvs 9»XoTt)T< [Xiy>i[J.iVai rig aXo^ojo 
K»}^oju.fV»l i>j£0-:v rjc-iy OTtw; fxsr' 'Ae^Xcv Itjcrav 
No5">j(7>i 0(xov^£ cryv ayy^i^yoig Iracoiai. 

28. /n Aer fcreasf s/te flac'd.'] She placed her 
hoard of magic drugs and chaiins in her bosom, 
both for safety and secresy ; considering it as her 
most precious treasure. 

29. Kiss'd her hed.l It was customary among 
the ancients to kiss inanimate things in this man- 
ner, by way of taking leave of them at parting, 
or pratulation on their return to them. Thus, in 
the Philoctetes of Sophocles, vie have, 'Iw^sv u xat 
w^oo-KLKravTEj T>5y Icrw aoixov ektojxjjo-iv. — ' Let us 
depart, O youth; first having kissed that uninhabit- 
able cheerless seat, within.' — Again, 2t£i;:^£ ts-^oo- 
Tiva-a-i x^^'""" — ' ^^ 5 having kissed the eaith.' In 
Virgil, ^n. ii, ver. 490. 

Affiplcxcrqiee tcnent jiostes, atque osculajigunt. 

34. A tress of hair.l It was the custom, among 
the ancients, to oft'er up locks of their hair to 
different deities. Medea consigns hers, as a re- 
membrance, to her mother. 

57. The holts and bars, ^c] Milton might have 
taken from hence the idea of the gates of heaven 
opening spontaneously to the angel. The opening 
of bolts, locks, and doors, in this manner, is a 
favourite circumstance in the stories of sorcery 
and incantation. Thus, in Macbeth ; ' Open locks, 
whoever knocks.' — The conflict of passion in 
Medea's mind, previous to her flight, is very 


natural and beautiful. The poet, all through the 
poem, shows himself soUcitous to account for her 
conduct, in deviating from the line of piety and 
strict propriety, by the pressure of external cir- 
ciunstances, not by internal disposition to ill. 
Thus, instead of exhibiting Medea as a monstriuu 
nullci virtute redemptum, and overstepping the 
modesty of nature, he consults decorum and con- 
sistency of character, and gives an instructive and 
moral delineation of such a personage as frequently 
occurs in real life ; of a personage with good 
natural dispositions, borne away from the paths 
of rectitude by strong passions, and unfortunate 
circumstances. — How differently would a modern 
German writer have drawn INIedea ! 

68. By paths, Sfc.'] There is something veiy 
sublime and awful in this picture of Bledea flying 
by night ; making the city gates open by her spells 
and charms; and tracing the paths, that she had 
so often trod in quest of poisonous herbs. 

75. Goddess of the silver, ^-c] Titanis, in the 
original Diana, is so called, because, as Hesiod 
says, ' The sun and moon were the progeny of 
Titan and Thea.'— Gr. Scho. 

78. Latmian.'] This was a mountain of Caria, 
where was a cave, in which Endymion was laid 
asleep ; and near it was a city called Heraclea. — r 
Gr. Scho. 

i'lO. Endymion.'] Hesiod makes Endymion the 
son of Aethlius, the son of Jupiter and Calice. 
He is said to have obtained from Jupiter the 
privilege of commanding the period of his disso- 
lution, so as to die when he pleased. With Hesiod 
agree Pisander, and Acusilaus, Pherecydes, and 


Nicander in the second book of his Etolics ; as 
also Theopompus, in his Epopaei. But in the 
work entitled MiyaXxi r.oiai, it is related, that 
Endymion was taken up into heaven by Jupiter ; 
and having been beloved by Juno, and being 
imposed upon by the false form of a cloud, with 
which he became enamoured, he was cast out 
from heaven and descended to Hades. Sappho, 
and Nicander in the second book of his Emopa, 
give us accounts of the love of the Moon for 
Endymion. She is said to have descended into 
this cave of Mount Latmos, to visit him. Epime- 
nides says, that Endymion, being admitted into 
the society of the gods, was beloved by Juno ; and, 
finding that Jupiter was enraged on that account, 
he demanded and obtained the privilege of sleep- 
ing perpetually. Ibycus says, that he reigned 
over Elis; and that, having been immortalized for 
his signal justice, he obtained from Jupiter the 
privilege (if it may be so called) of sleeping with- 
out intermission. Some writers say that he was a 
Spartctn ; others make him an Elean. Some 
explode altogether the fable of Endymion's being 
wrapped in sleep ; and say that he, being fond of 
hunting to an excess, used to rise by night, and 
pursue his sports by the light of the moon ; be- 
cause, at that time, the wild beasts were accus- 
tomed to come out from their lairs to feed ; and 
that by day he used to repose, after bis toils, in 
a cave : whence tiie fable arose of his being always 
asleep. Others attempt to allegorize the fables 
respecting Endymion in a different manner; and 
say, that he was the first who applied himself to 
the philosophy of the air and meteors, and to the 


t>bservation of the heavenly bodies; and that, 
having bestowed a great proportion of his time on 
the contemplation of the moon, and snccessfnllj-^ 
explained the phenomena of her phases, it came 
from thence to be said, that the moon was ena- 
moured of him. iVs he watched through night to 
attend to his studies, and slept by day, thence 
<:ame the story of his being always asleep. Some 
again will have it, that there really existed a 
person of an uncommonly drowsy habit, of the 
name of Endyraion, who either lay in a long 
trance, or was so negligent of his affairs, that he 
always seemed to be asleep. In allusion to whose 
situation was formed the proverb, * The slumber 
of Endymion.' Theocritus speaks of Endymion, 
saying, ZciXx7@-' fj-tv ijji.iv I hIcotzov yrvov lavujv Evcv/txitfV. 
See the Greek scholia-^t, from whom chiefly this 
note is extracted. 

88. Glimpses pale, S^c] Tt was related in ancient 
legend, and believed by popular superstition, that 
«nc!iantresses used to draw down the moon by 
their sorceries. The witches of Thessaly, in par- 
ticular, were said to have possessed extraordinary 
powers of this kind ; and, among others, Aglonice, 
the daughter of Hegemon. The true meaning^ of 
the story is, that she, being skilful in astrology, 
was enabled to foretel when the eclipses of the 
moon were to happen ; on which account she was 
supposed, by the ij;norant people among whom 
she lived, to brinir to pa^s the alarming phenome- 
non which, in fact, she only predicted. This 
woman was involved in misfortunes; for, killing 
one of her domestics, and being prosecuted for 
ijer crime, she gave ri»e to the saying, ' Th^y 


draw down the moon :' to denote unfortunati^ 
persons. — (Gr. Scho.) The ancients believed 
implicitly in the extraordinary powers of sorcery. 
We find in the classics innumerable passages that 
refer to the force of magical incantation, to draw 
down the moon from her sphere. This was done 
to favour those rites which were supposed to re- 
quire an hour of solemn darkness, or the ascent 
of departed shades and demons, who were thought 
to have strong objections to the glare of light. 
Virgil describes the power of enchantment in 
strong terms, in i^nejd, iv. vefr. 487 : 

Ila-c sc curmiuibus promittit solvere mentes, S^c. 

Tibullus gives a similar description of an enchan- 
tress. The poetical superstitions of the moderns 
seem to resemble those of the ancients, respecting 
the pov. er of magic to darken the moon, and the 
dislike which spectres and evil spirits have to 
clear Jiglit, either of sun or moon. To these 
received opinions Milton alludes, in Par. L. ii. 

——To dance 
Wjili Lapland witches, while the labouring moon 
Eclipses at their charms. 

And Shakspeare, in Hamlet; 

— — Thoii (lead corse, again, ia complete sleel, 
Revisifst ihu? the glimpses of the moon. 

97, In flight, ^c] The author of the Naupactica 
says, that Medea did not go out to the Argoiiauis 
by her own choice ; but that, being called out on 
some pretence to the temple of Vesta, while Eetes, 


who had laid an ambuscade to cut off the Argo- 
nauts, and burn their sliip, was withdrawn from the 
prosecution of this scheme by the embraces of his 
wife Eurylyte, the adventurers, at the suggestion 
of Idmon, took advantage of this conjuncture, 
and sailed away, bearing Medea witli them. — Gr. 

125. The golden fleece.'] Apollonius represents 
Medea as flying from her father's palace to the 
Argonauts, before they had obtained the fleece, 
and promising to put it into their iiands. But 
the autiior of the Naupactica represents her as 
carrying the fleece with her from the palace of 
Eetes; where, according to him, it was deposited. 
Herodotus relates, that after the debarkation of 
the Argonauts, Jason was dispatched by Eetes to 
obtain the fleece ; and that he, having proceeded 
on his mission, killed the dragon, and brought 
away the fleece to Eetes; v,iio, with the treache- 
rous intention of destroying the Argonauts, invited 
them to a banquet. — Gr. Scho. 

141. i)Iy fairest, ^t.] There are great delicacy 
and truth of nature, in this picture of the feelings 
and remorse of Medea, at nnding herself a stranger 
among strangers. The gallantry, politeness, and 
decorum of Jason, on the occasion, are exemplary; 
and would do honour to modern manners. Tlie 
solicitude of Medea to exact his oath — an una- 
vailing pledge in her circumstances, is happily 

159. Now had she rush'd,] All these coiiflicts of 
passion in the mind of Medea are admirably 
atfocting. Perhaps there is nothing in classic 
lore equal to them, except the picture of the sub- 


sequent distress of Medea, or of the fatal passion 
of Phedra in Euripides. 

171. Fabled ram.] Dionysius, inhis Argonautics, 
says, that Crius was the name of the preceptor of 
Phryxus, who being the first to perceive the trca- 
clierous designs of his stepmother, counselled his 
pupil to save himself by flight, and accompanied 
Lim. Whence arose the fable, that Phryxus was 
saved by a ram and conveyed to Colchis. — Gr. 

177. Jove.'] Jupiter Phyxius, who was supposed 
to protect the movements of fugitives. 

179. Hermes.] See Hyginus, book ii. fable 3; 
and the commentators on him. He is said to iiave 
offered up that ram to Jove. 

183. Sacred grove.] In the Argonautics ascribed 
to Orpheus, (see ver. 909,) is a more particular 
description of this grove, and the various plants 
which its environs produced ; of which the sup- 
posed Orpheus gives a long catalogue. 

186. Expanded wide.] Valerius Fiaccus has imi- 
tated this passage, in book viii. ver. 114. 

193. Baleful and shrill.] Virgil has imitated the 
passage of the original, and particularly the cir- 
cumstance of the mothers clasping the infants to 
their bosoms : 

— — Protinus omne 
Contremuit nemus, et sylvtE intonuere profundi^. 
Audiit et trivUe longe lacus, uvdiit amnis 
Sulfureci Nar albus aquci, fontesque Velini: 
Et trepida matres pressere ad pectora natos. 

The circumstance of the mothers clasping their 
infants to their breasts, which is mentioned in the 
preceding verses of the original, is in itself highly 


natural and beautiful, and vei^ tender and affect- 
ing, and seems to have been a great favourite with 
poets. Thus, for instance, we find it introduced 
in the Troades of Euripides ; and Carabens has 
employed it, in a passage where he professedly 
imitates ApoUonius and Virgil : 

' Such was tlie tempest of the dread alarms, 
The babe, that prattled in his nurse's arms, 
Shriek'd at the sound : with sudden cold impress'd. 
The mothers slrain'd thfe infants to the breast. 
And shook with horror.'— 

Lusiad by Mickle, hook iv. 

195. Titanian, ^c] So called from the river 
Titanus, which gives name to the region around ; 
and is mentioned by Eratostheuus, in his geogra- 
phy. — Gr. Scho. 

197. Lycus.] The name of a river, which, part- 
ing from the Araxes, hastes to mingle with tlie 
Phasis ; and then, losing its own name, is borne 
onward to the sea. The same happens with 
respect to the Onochonus, a river of Tliessaly, 
the Parmisus, and the Sperchius ; for when they 
all meet at one place, they are called the Sperchius. 
The Araxes is a river of Scythia. Metrodorus, in 
his first book, respecting Tigranes, says, that the 
river Thermodon was also called Araxes. — Gr. 
Scho.) There seem to have been some doubt and 
difficulties arising from there being two rivers, 
one Armenian, the other Scytliian, which bore 
the name of Araxes. Herodotus (Clio 201,) 
speaks thus of the Araxes : — ' The nation of the 
Massagetae lay beyond the Araxes. Some reckon 
this river less, others greater than the Danube. 
There are many islands scattered up and down in 


jt; some of them equal to Lesbos in extent. Like 
the Gyndes, which Cyrus divides into a hundred 
and twenty rills, this river rises among the Matic- 
nian hills. It separates itself into forty mouths ; 
all of which, except one, lose themselves in the 
fens and marshes. The largest stream of the 
Araxes continues its even course to the Caspian 
sea. Cyrus the Great, in his attack on the Massa- 
getas, advanced to the Araxes, and threw a bridge 
.of boats over it.' Herodotus proceeds to give 
some account of the people who inhabit the islands 
in the Araxes. He says that they subsist, during 
summer, on such roots as they dig out of the earth, 
preserving for their winter-provision ripe fruits. 
They have among them a tree, the fruit of which 
has a singular quality; according to his account, 
much like that of tobacco. Having assembled 
round a fire, made for the purpose, they used to 
throw the before-mentioned fruit into it, the fumes 
of which had an inebriating quality. For, as the 
smoke ascended, these people became exhilarated, 
as others are with wine; and, continuing to throw 
on more and more of this fruit, they began, at 
length, to leap, and dance, and sing. The Cyrus, 
and the Araxes, (noAV called the Cur, and the 
Arash,) anciently flowed to the sea by different 
channels. See Spenser's Fairy Queen, book iy. 
canto xi. stanza 21 : 

' Orases feared for great Cyms' sake ;' 

where, instead of Oraxes, we should read Araxes. 
— See Jortin. Virgil alludes to the tempestuous 
violence of this river, jEneid, lib. viii. 1. 7'28 : 
Pontem indignatus Araxes,— StQ also Chardiu, torn. 


i. p. 181. — On a hati diverses fois des ponts dessus 
I'Araxe^ mais quelques forts et massifs quVsfussent 
comme il paroit a des arches qui sont encore eyitiers. 
Us n'ont, pu tciar contre Veffort du jleuve. II est si 
furieux forsque le degel le grossit des neiges fonduees 
des mouts voisins, qu'il n'y a ni digue ni autre bati- 
ment qiiil n'emporte. L'Arclier remarks, that what 
Herodotus says of the Araxes applies to the Volga, 
which empties itself into the Caspian sea, and that 
by a great number of channels, and has in it many 
islands; but does not (nor, indeed, could possibly) 
come from the Matieniaii or Median mountains. 
Herodotus, in fact, seems to have confounded the 
Armenian with the Scythian Araxes. 

198. Caucasian sea.] The Euxine sea, which 
washed the foot of Mount Caucasus, is thence 
called Caucasian. The region of Caucasus over- 
looked the Sarmatian plains ; that is to say, the 
desert of Astracau and the country of the Don 

2i>0. Entranced, dissolv'd.] Virgil has imitated 
this passage in the sixth i^neid, where he has 
described the effect of the soporific medicament 
on Cerberus : 

Iminania terga resolvit 

Fusus huml, totoque ingens extenditur antra. 

He has even borrowed the veiy expressions of 
Apollonius, which are less expressive and happy 
in him ; being applied to the serpentine species in 
the original, and to the canine in the imitation : 
Immania terga resolvit — fttsus liumi, totoque exten- 
ditur antra; whicli was more applicable to the 
serpent uncoiling his spires. 


231. A branch of juniper.'] Medea, having dipped 
this bough in magical drugs, bore the charm to the 
dragon, and accompanied it with spells and mystic 
songs : and thus took away the fleece, and retreated 
with her companion to the ship, while the monster 
lay asleep. Antimachus agrees with our poet in 
this account; but Pherecydes, in his seventh book, 
says, that the dragon was killed by Jason. Tlie 
Arceuthus was a certain prickly plant, consecrated 
to Apollo; it is mentioned in the third book of the 
works ascribed to Musaeus. — Gr. Scho. 

23 1. In drugs bedewed.'} Virgil has imitated the 
passage in the text, jEneid, v. ver. 854, and vi. 
ver. 420. See also Ovid, Met. vii. ver. 149. 

249. As when exulting.'] This simile is truly 
original, and shows great ingenuity and powers of 
fancy in Apollonius. 

262. Achaia.] Or rather xAchaenea, Acliana, or 
Achanae, was a city or district of Crete, which 
abounded in stags of an extraordinary size, with 
very branching horns, like cur red deer. This 
region of Crete is not to be confounded with 
Achaia, a state of Greece.— See Gr. Scho. 

269. Now in his hands, <Sfc.] The behaviour of 
Jason is very natural. — His youthful exultation iu 
the possession of the fleece, and his anxiety lest 
he should be disturbed in the possession of the 
treasure, are happily imagined, and well expressed. 
Mr. Warton is of opinion, that Virgil had this pas- 
sage in view when he described the delight of 
Eneas at receiving the shield, the gift of Venus. — 
See JEi\ek\y viii. ver. 618: 

Exfleri nequit, atque oculo<t per singula volvit, — 
Miraturque, interque manus, et brechla versat, S;r. 


So Spenser, in his Faiiy Queen, book vi. canto ii. 
The account which Orpheus, in his ArgonauticSy 
gives of the manner in which the fleece wa* 
obtained and carried away, is very curious and 
circumstantial ; and differs, in some respects, fron> 
that of our author. The reader, perhaps, will not 
be displeased to see it in a literal translation. It 
extends from ver. 885 to ver. 1025, in the original; 
' But, when Medea came clandestinely from the 
house of Eetes to our ship, we debated in our 
minds, in what manner we should take away the 
golden fleece from the sacred beech. She very 
quickly made us sensible of what was to be done ; 
nor had one of us divined the unexpected laboor, 
A direful task was presented to all our heroes, an 
abyss of evils yawned before us : for in front of 
the mansion of Eetes, and near the guarded river, 
at the interval of nine ells, a vast fortification 
encloses it, with embattled towers and polished 
bars of iron. This enclosure is environed with no 
less than seven walls ; thence open triple brazen 
gates, of enormous size ; and within those, a lofty 
wall overtops, round which are golden buttresses. 
At the threshold of the gates sits the queen sub- 
lime, diffusing a fiery glare around, whom the 
Colchians worship under the name of Artemis, 
the keeper of the gate, resounding in the chase. 
Dreadful she is in aspect and in voice, to those 
rash men who dare approach her with steps 
lowed, before due lustrations and solemn expiatory 
rites are performed. These rites, concealed in 
mystic and awful privacy, are only known to 
Medea, (skilful as she is in fatal and pernicioui 
arts) and to the Colchian virgins, her conipauion?. 


Nor could any man, whether native of the soil or 
stranger, intrude by force to tread that path of 
fear. For the terrors of the goddess prohibit all 
approach ; inspiring with frantic rage. In the 
most secret recesses of that sanctuary a grove 
extends itself, shady and dark, witli trees of luxu- 
riant growth, there are many laurels and cornel 
trees, and lofty planes, with shrubs and plants cf 
a less aspiring kind beneath, flourishing in the 
shelter of the trees: the asphodel, the honey- 
suckle, the beautiful adiantus, the sea-grass, and 
the reed; the galingal, the slender and delicate 
aristereon, clary, wild cresses, and cyclamen divine; 
the staechas or cotton lavender, the peony, the 
organy, with branches low, the mandrake, the 
poHon (whose leaves appear white in tlie morning, 
purple at noon, and blue when the sun declines). 
With these, the subtle dittany, (or garden ginger) 
the fragrant crocus, the nasturtium, the lion's foot, 
the creeping smilax, the chamomile, the sable 
poppy, marsh-mallows, wound-wort, or all-heal, 
and capasura and aconite, and many other plants 
of noxious power, spnmg up on that soil. In the 
midst, aspiring to the clouds, and furnished all 
around with wide-spreading branches that shade 
a great part of the grove, rises the beech, from 
whence hangs the fleece of gold, fastened on either 
hand to a long extended bough. A' tremendous 
dragon, stationed near, (a more horrible monster, 
and object of greater terror to man, than tongue 
can explain,) guarded this fleece. The monster, 
shining with golden scales, twined around the 
trunk of the tree his spires of immense magnitude ; 
(a portent belonging to the Stygian realm) and 


guarded the treasure committed to his care, for 
■ever twisting from side to side the baleful pupils 
of his green eyes. On having this unquestionable 
narrative of tlie situation of things, and particu- 
larly how the dragon kept watch around nocturnal 
Hecate, ('all which was related to us in the clearest 
manner by Medea) we began to inquire, whether 
we might expect any prosperous end to our labour; 
and whether, by any means, we might appease 
and propitiate Diana, so as to approach that 
Stygian monster unliarmed, and, possessing our- 
selves of the fleece, to return to our native land 
in safety. Then Mopsus arose among the heroes ; 
(for he was skilful in augury and divination, and 
this was suggested by his art) and advised, that 
they should all entreat me [Orpheus speaks here, 
as he always does, in the first person] to join with 
them in the work of rendering Diana favourable, 
and lulling the dreadful monster to rest. In con- 
sequence of this they came round and entreated 
Bie ; but I directed tlie son of Eson to send away 
two men of might ; Castor, famous for managed 
steeds, and Pollux, renowned for the cestus, 
together with Mopsus, the son of Amycus, to the 
projected scene of our future labour. Medea 
alone followed me, at a distance from tlie crowd. 
When we arrived at the temple of the goddess, 
and the consecrated space, tiiere, in the level 
plain, I dug a trench in three rows ; and quicklj 
bringing together billets of juniper, and dry cedar, 
and the sharp buckthorn, and black poplar, with 
its whispering leaves, T raised a pyre beside the 
trench. Medea, supremely skilled in all the arts 
cf incantation, brought me many things; taking 



them from a coffer, which she had conveyed from 
the fragrant recesses of her apartment. Presently, 
covered with a veil, I mixed the drugs and magical 
ingredients, then cast them on the pyre, and mixed 
with the blood vitriol, and the plants called Stru- 
thion (or fuller's herb), bastard saffron torn in 
shreds, obscene psyllium or flax-wort, the ruddy 
bugloss of suffocating power, and chalcimus ; with 
this composition I filled the cavities of the bellies 
of the victims, and placed them on the pyre. I 
mixed the crude and gory intestines with pure 
water, and poured them about the trench. Then, 
robed in a sable stole, and striking at intervals the 
martial cymbals, I poured forth prayers. Instantly, 
Tisiphone, Alecto, and the awful Megera, heard 
me bursting the barriers of the cheerless and dark 
profound ; shaking their torches, that emitted a 
lurid and ensanguined light. In a moment the 
trench was in a blaze, and the consuming fire 
crackled; the ardent flame sparkled, and wreathed 
around great volumes of smoke. Immediately 
those powers, tremendous, astonishing, inexorable, 
unapproachable, emergent from hell, were seen 
breaking through the fire. And she, with frame 
of iron, whom earthly mortals call Pandora ; she 
came ; and with her the phantasm, endowed with 
various forms, reared her threefold head, (a monster 
dreadful to behold, nor even to be conceived by 
human thought,) Hecate, daughter of Tartarus. 
Over her left shoulder was the head of a horse ; 
over her right that of a dog ; in the midst that of 
a wild stag : in both her hands she wielded a 
sword, with an immense hilt. Pandora and 
Hecate circled round the trench, and passed from 
*t8de to sJde; and the furies tblJowed them.— Then, 


the guardian form of Artemis cast to the ground 
the torches from lier hands, and raised her eyes to 
heaven. The dogs that attended her crouched 
with fUwning tails. Hie bolts of the silver locks 
were unclosed, the beautiful gates of the broad 
wall flew open, and tiie guarded grove was un- 
folded to view. Then I was the first to pass the 
threshold. After me the maid, the daughter of 
Eetes, and the illustrious son of Eson ; and the 
sons of Tyndanis then pressed on together, and 
Mopsus followed them. As soon as the beautiful 
and spreading beech appeared in nearer prospect, 
and the seat of hospitable Jove, and the station 
of the aitar where the dragon rolled in spires 
immense ; turning round, he raised his head and 
menacing jaws, and hissed most dreadfully. The 
vast expanse of air resounded ; the trees resounded, 
shaken to and fro from the very roots; the gloomy 
grove resounded. Then terror seized me and my 
companions. Medea alone preserved an undaunted 
spirit within her bosom. She grasped in her hands 
portions of magical plants of potent influence ; 
and I added the divine tones of my lyre. It was 
then that joining my piercing voice in harmony 
with the highest notes of the shell, and miming 
down to the lowest keys, I sung in numbers now 
high, now softly deep. The song was an invoca- 
tion of sleep ; of sleep, the tamer of gods and 
men ; that he might come and soothe the fuiy of 
tlie dragon. The power of sleep obeyed ; and 
visited the Colchian land. He lulled to rest, in 
his passage, the various tribes of men, the power- 
ful blasts of wind, the billows of the deep, the 
gushing springs of perennial waters, the courset 


of the rivers, the beasts, the birds, and all that 
live and move, causing them to sink down in 
sleep. On golden pinions he was borne; he came, 
and hovered over the rough but flourishing realm 
of the Colchians. On the instant, a drowsy 
influence seized the eyes of the monstrous dragon j 
a sleep like that of death. He wreathed about 
from his long spine his powerless neck and head, 
that seemed oppressed with its own scales. Medea, 
skilled in sorceries, was agreeably astonished at 
the sight; and encouraged the illustrious son of 
Eson, that he should expeditiously snatch away 
the fleece of gold from the tree. He, bearing 
away the vast fleece, proceeded to the ship.' Such 
is the passage of Orpheus, which is well deserving 
of attention, both for its poetical merit, and for 
the singular display of magical rites and incanta- 
tions which it contains. ApoUonius tells us that 
Eetes, being frustrated in his intention of setting 
fire to the ship of the Argonauts, returned in his 
chariot, which was driven by the young Absyrtus. 
But Dionysius the Milesian (as quoted by the 
ancient scholiast) says, that Eetes, finding the 
Argonauts at their ship, actually attacked them, 
and slew Iphis, the brother of Eurystheus, and 
many others, in the combat which ensued, and in 
which the Colchians were finally routed. — Phere- 
cydes, in his seventh book, says, that Medea took 
away Absyrtus out of his bed, and carried him to 
the Argonauts, at the suggestions of Jason ; and, 
after they were pursued, killed him, and having 
cut his body into small pieces scattered them in 
the river. In his Scythians, Sophocles says, that 
Absyrtus was not the uterine brother of Medea : 


("Sxa^-avfo-xf, T>iv ^' Eti't/ia tu-atv ttot' axfftva xoj>} iTixliV. 

They were not the offspring of one bed; tlie youth 
was newly sprung from a Nereid. — Eiduia, the 
daughter of Ocean, bore the virgin. 

310. The leadei' from the sheath.'] So Virgil, 
^neid, iv. ver. 579. 

314. Beside the plighted maid.] There is some- 
thing very graceful and gallant in the whole con- 
duct and deportment of Jason on the present 
occasion ; so that one can scarcely wonder, every 
thing considered, at the sacrifices Medea makes 
for him. There is also something highly animating 
in the address of the young hero to his companions , 
The figure of Jason, standing near Medea, with 
hope, love, and exultation in his countenance; the 
mixture of contending passions, love, grief, shame, 
and terror, in the looks of Medea; and the various 
expressions in those of the Argonauts, according 
to their diflferent characters, would furnish a fine 
subject for a painter. 

330. 4 hranch of flaming, S^-s.] For the purpose 
of setting fire to the ship of the Argonauts. 

353. Not ships but feather'd, Sfc] This compa- 
rison very well illustrates the noise of the sailors, 
the number of their vessels, their being closely 
crowded together, the whiteness of the sails, and 
the hurried motion of the vessels. 

371. Phitieus.] This communication of Phineus 
appears in the second book, ver, 437 : 

£i.aiixwy irifov ttXoov ^yfjuovfo^Tfi. 

374. Argus, Sfc] Argus convinces them, that 
Phineus had really told them truth: since there 


actually was to be found a homeward route, dif- 
ferent from that by which they had reached Col- 
chis, whicli was pointed out by the Egyptian 
priests. Herodorus, however, in liis Argonauts, 
says, that they returned through the same sea by 
which they had proceeded to Colchis. Hecateus 
the Milesian says, that the Argonauts passed from 
the river Phasis to the ocean , from thence after- 
wards to tlie Nile ; and from thence again to the 
Egean sea. This is contradicted by Artemidorus 
the Ephesian, who says, that the river Phasis does 
not fall into the ocean ; and with him Eratosthe- 
nus agrees, in the third book of his geography. 
Timagetus, in the first book of his work on ports 
and lakes, says, that the Ister descends from the 
Celtic lake ; that, after this, its waters are divided 
into two branches ; the one of which falls into the 
Euxine, the other into the Celtic sea; that the 
Argonauts sailed through this latter mouth, and 
arrived at Tyrrhenia, or Tuscany. Hesiod, Pin- 
dar in one of his Pythian Odes, and Antimachus 
in his Lydia, say, that the Argonauts passed 
through the ocean to Libya, and, having carried 
their vessel over land, arrived at the Egean sea. 
With this account ApoUonius agrees. — (Gr. Scho.) 
Haelzlinus blames the scholiast for saying, that 
ApoUonius follows the account given by Timage- 
tus, which is not the fact; for the Argonauts are 
conducted by our poet through the Eridanus, or 
Po, and the Rhone, to the Adriatic gulf; nor was 
that gulf called, at any time, the Celtic sea. — 
See note of Haelzlinus. 

381. Oldest of mortals.'] Our poet asserts, that 
the Egyptians were the most ancient inhabitants 


of the earth ; bat Herodotus attributes that ho- 
nour to the Phrygians. Cosines, in the first book 
of his Egyptiacs ; Leon, in the first of his books 
addressed to his mother ; and Knossus, in the first 
book of his geography of Asia ; all concur in say- 
ing, that the Egyptians were the most ancient of 
men, and that Thebes vvas the first city built in 
that country; and with them Nicanor, Archima- 
chus, and Xenagoras agree : the second of these 
writers in his Metonymiae ; the third, ni the first 
book of his Chronology. Hippys also says, that 
the Egyptians were the most ancient people in the 
world, and the first who formed conjectures abont 
the temperature of the air, and the mixture of the 
aerial elements which compose the atmosphere. 
He adds, that the Nile was the most productive 
of streams ; whence he accounts for Egypt being 
the land first peopled. Apollonius says, that ' they 
lived before all the constellations appeared :' by 
which he must mean, before their nature had been 
explored and understood ; and their names im- 
posed on them. He adds, that they called the 
twelve signs of the Zodiac, 0coi /SaXaiof, or *god3 
endowed with volition.' The planets they called 
Voc^^o^o^oy, or ' bearers of wands.' Herodotus 
asserts, that the Phrygians were the first of men ; 
and, in support of this opinion, tells a story, how 
Psammitichus, king of Egypt, ascertained the fact 
by an experiment. * He delivered (says the his- 
torian) two infants to a shepherd, with strict 
orders to suffer no person to speak to them; but 
to have them suckled by a goat. When the chil- 
dren began to articulate, the first sound they 
uttered was hek. wliich, in the Phrj'giau language, 


•iguified " bread." Hence the king conclude rf;. 
liiat the Phrygians were the real aboriginal people, 
and parent stock, whence other tribes proceeded, 
and overspread the face of the earth.' This was 
but a simple conjecture, however; since it is very 
obvious, that this noise which the children were 
first observed to make, was not an attempt to 
speak any language, but merely an effort to imi- 
tate the sounds which they had heard from the 
liocks. — (Gr. Scho.) ' Certain it is, that there 
are few nations in the world which can pretend to 
an equal antiquity with the Egyptians. Their 
coimti-y is the only one in the world which has 
borne the name of a son of Noah ; though it is 
uncertain whetlier Ham liimself made any settle- 
ment there. However^ his son Mizraira certainly 
peopled Egypt with Iiis own issue^ under the 
names of Mizraim, Pathrusim, Casluhim^ and 
Caphtorim. And yet the Egyptians themselves, 
by being ignorant of their true descent, pretended 
even to a greater antiquity than this, asserting 
themselves to have been the first men in the world ; 
which (as well as animals) they imagined must 
have been originally produced in their country, 
rather than in any other part of the world, because 
of the benign temperature of the air, the natural 
fecundity of the Nile, and its spontaneous bringing 
forth several kinds of vegetables ; a proper food 
for the newly-produced men and animals. And, 
to support this opinion by fact, they instanced in- 
liie great numbers of mice, which were every year 
bred out of the mud left by the Nile on its re- 
iieat; some of them, as they say, appearing alive, 
,ad formed so far as the fore part of the body only, 


the other part being inanimate, and without mo- 
tion, as having not yet quite put otf the nature of 
earth.' — Ant. Univ. Hist. vol. i. octavo, p. 4ol. 

384. Arcadiayis.'] The .Vicadians were said to 
have been before tlie moon, as Eudoxus relates in 
his Periods. Theodorus, in his twenty-ninth 
book, says, that the moon appeared a little before 
the war of the giants. And Aristo the Chian in his 
Theses, and Dionysius of Chalcis in the first book 
of his Ctisis, say the same thing, and that the race 
of men w ho peopled Arcadia were called Seleuites. 
Mnaseas says, that the Arcadians possessed a do- 
minion before the appearance of the moon. Aris- 
totle, in his Polity of the Tegeates, asserts, that 
the Barbarians (by which, it is to be supposed, 
be meant the Asiatics) dwelt in Arcadia, but were 
expelled by an attack which the native Arcadians 
made on them, before the appearance of the 
moon, i. e. before its rising ; whence these Arca- 
dians obtained the name of -nr^oo-sXuvot, or men 
anterior to the moon. Duris, in his fifth and tenth 
books of Macedonics, says, that Areas, from whom 
Arcadia took its name, was the son of Orchome- 
nus, the founder of a city of Arcadia, which bore 
his name. Some say, that Endymion, who was an 
Arcadian, found out the different periods of the 
various phenomena of the moon, and the arith- 
metical calculations, by which they might be as- 
certained; and that, from him, the Arcadians were 
said to be older than the moon. Some, however^ 
ascribe these discoveries to Typhon. Xenagoras 
gives them to Atlas. — Gr. Scho. 

The foregoing note of the scholiast is very cu- 
rious; as it shows what extraordinary opinion* 


were held by some of the ancients. Inileed the 
ignorance even of learned and intelligent men 
among them, on many snbjects of astronomy and 
geography, was very surprising. It appears, for 
instance, that Herodotus, a very inquisitive and 
well-formed writer, did not believe that the earth 
was of a globular form. He expresses himself to 
this effect j (Melp. 36): < I cannot but think it 
exceedingly ridiculous, to hear some men talking 
of the circumference of the earth ; pretending, 
without the smallest reason or probability, that 
the ocean encompasses the earth ; that the earth 
is rounded, as if mechanically formed so; and that 
Asia is equal to Europe.' 

In addition to the observations of the scholiast 
respecting the Arcadians, it is to be observed, that 
some writers endeavoured to explain their boast 
of being older than the moon, by saying that the 
Greeks generally ordered their affairs according 
to the appearance of the new and full moon. The 
Spartans considered it as criminal to begin any 
great design before they had considered the moon, 
as she appeared when new, and in the full. Thus, 
we find, that previous to tlie battle of Marathon, 
the Athenians applied to the Spartans for suc- 
cours, who agreed to furnish them, and ordered 
their troops to be ready to march, but at the same 
time declared, that they would not depart in less 
than five days j one of their laws forbidding them 
to march but at the full of the moon, of which it 
was then but the ninth day. The Arcadians, who 
were but a savage, uncouth race, contraiy to the 
general practice of the other Greeks, transacted 
their business of importance before the appear- 


ance of the new moon, or that of the full, and 
■were therefore called, in derision, ir^oT?Xviyo* ; 
which term of reproach tlie Arcadians artfully 
turned to tl.eir commendation ; and affirmed, that 
they were older than the moon. 

387. Deucalion's blood, ^c] The descendants of 
Deucalion reigned over Thessaly, as Hecateus 
and Hesiod wnte. Thessaly was called Pelasgia, 
from Pelasgus, who reigned in the comitry.— (Gr, 
Scho.) The Pelasgi have been an object of at- 
tention and curiosity to different learned writers. 
The reader will find a disquisition on tlie subject 
in the transactions of the Fiench National Insti- 
tute, by citizen Dupuis : ' If we believe Ephorus, 
(says he) and some other writers, as Strabo, in his 
fifth book, and tiie scholiast en Diony-ius Perie- 
getes, ver. 348, the Pelasgi were originally Arca- 
dians, who embraced the profession of arms, and 
pushed their conquests and colonies to a great 
distance from thence. Pausanias pretends, that 
the fii'st savages who inhabited Arcadia took the 
name of Pelasgi, and their country that of Pelas- 
gia ; and that the name of their king, who civilized 
them, was Pelasgus. Hesiod also supposes, that 
Pelasgus was an ancient indigenous prince or 
hero, who gave his name to the people who were, 
in after times, called Danai and Argivi. These 
made themselves out to be the indigenous inhabi- 
tants of the region. Pelasgus, is quasi Pelargus, 
a saunterer or wanderer. Otiiers suppose the 
name Pelasgus to be derived, with some change, 
from Pelargus, which signifies a crane ; from the 
prevalent habits of this people, and their dispo- 
sition to emigrate. Herodotus distinguishes many 


branches of the Pelasgic nation; as the Athe- 
nians, (who were called Cranai) the people of 
Lemnos, the iEgialensians. This people were only 
known in Asia and Europe by their hostile incur- 
sions. Far from being the aboriginal inhabitants 
of Greece, it appears, from the language and reli- 
gious rites of the Pelasgi, that they seemed to 
derive their origin from the Scythians, that is, the 
Celts or Scandinavians.' The Pelasgi are men- 
tioned by Thucydides, in the beginning of his 
works. Some writers suppose, that the descen- 
dants of Peleg (the fourth in descent from Shem, 
the son of Noah, whom they imagine to have been 
the father of the Scythians) were the first who 
peopled Greece ; and that they only softened the 
name of their progenitor Peleg, and called them- 
selves Pelasgi. Some learned critics support this 
opinion, by a supposed affinity between the Hebrew 
and ancient Greek | and by the various dialects 
and pronunciations of the latter, which, in the 
Doric, comes nearest to the Eastern tongues, and 
from the remainder of those tongues, especially 
in places where the Pelasgians liave been. The 
first improvements which the savage people of 
Greece made in their manner of living (such as 
exchanging their old food for more wholesome 
acorns, building themselves huts to sleep in, aud 
covering their bodies w ith the skins of wild beasts) 
were ascribed to Pelasgus, whose memoi-y was 
much honoured among them on that account. 

391. Triton.] Different causes have been as- 
signed, by the ancients, for the overflowing of the 
Nile. Anaxagoras says, that it owes its increase 
to tlie melting of snows. With him Euripides 


agrees, saying, EtXH/xfvn 5^ xaXXtra^SevC^ ^ovj 
XEuxn; raxetcTJij ;^Kjy(^ uypatvEi yvnv. ' The stream 
renowned for virgin beauties, rolling along, swelled 
by the melting of the snows, irrigates the soil.' 
EschyUis and Sophocles conjectured also, that great 
snows fell in the region of Egypt, the melting of 
whicli produced the overflowing of the Nile. Ni- 
cagoras says, that the Nile flows back from the 
Anteci. Democritus, the natural philosopher, was 
of opinion, that the Nile received the superfluous 
water from the sea on the south, which was confined 
and overflowed ; and, as to the sweetness of the 
waters, he endeavoured to account for that, by the 
length of its course over a vast interval of country ; 
and by the heat of the sun, which evaporated the 
salt, and changed its taste. The opinion of Aristo 
the Chian was, that the sun in winter being beneath 
the earth, draws in and contracts the water ; but 
in summer, being above the earth, he no longer 
does so, by reason of the earth's being more heated j 
on which account, her veins are relaxed and ex- 
panded, and she throws out the more water from 
her hidden and inward springs. Ephorus says, 
tliat Egypt is full of subterraneous springs and 
streams that flow under ground, and that the hot 
sun in spring causing the earth to crack and open, 
gives them a passage, and thus enables them to 
rise to light, and increase the waters of the Nile. 
Thales the Milesian was of opinion, that the clouds, 
driven together by the Etesian winds, and congre- 
gated at the mountains of Ethiopia, were there 
broken ; and, descending in torrents of rain, caused 
tlie waters of the Nile to swell. In addition to 
tliis, he saiil, that the Etesian winds, blowing all 


the hot season over the Mediterranean sea in a 
contrary direction to the course of the river, ob- 
structed the passage of the -waters of the Nile, 
as tlicy flowed to the sea ; and by causing them to 
accumulate and rise above their banks, produced 
an inundation of the country. The opinion of 
Democritus was, that the overflowing of the Nile 
was caused by the sun's attraction of snowy 
vapours from the frozen mountains of the north, 
which being carried by the wind southward, and 
thawed by warmer climates, fell down upon Ethio- 
pia in deluges of rain. And the same thing is 
advanced by Agatharcides of Cnidus, in his Peri- 
plus of the Red Sea. Diogenes of Apollonia was 
of opinion, that the augmentation of the Nile was 
caused by the action of the sun raising the waters 
of the sea, so as to cause them to be poured into 
the bed of the Nile. He also thinks that the Nile 
is increased, in summy, by the sun's turning into 
it the dews and exhalations from the earth. Such 
are the opinions enumerated by the Greek scho- 
liast, on the 269th verse of our poet. There were 
other opinions equally chimerical ; as, for instance, 
that of Herodotus. * The Nile overflows in summer, 
because in winter the sun, driven from his usual 
course by storms, ascends into the higher regions 
of air above Libya ; and to whatever region this 
power more nearly approaches, there the rivers 
and streams are dried up : thus in winter the Nile 
is diminislied, by the near approach of the sun in 
the regions near Egypt; while in summer the 
greater distance of the sun diminishes the cause of 
evaporation, and allovt's the waters to swell.' This 
iipinion, which is obviously very absurd, is fully 


lefuted by Diodorus Siculus. The reader wilj 
find all the various opinions on this subject re- 
counted in the oration of Aristides on the increase 
of the Nile. 

The Nile, at different times, bore different ap- 
pellations. It was at first called the Triton; it 
afterwards obtained the name of Nile, from Nilus 
the centaur, the son of Tantalus, who reigned over 
the country, as Hermippus relates. (See Gr. Scho.) 
The name given to the Nile, in Homer, is Egjptus : 
it also had the name of Cronides, in ancient times. 
Pliny says, that the Nile was called Siris. With 
this denomination the Scriptures agree, which 
speak of the waters of Seir. 

o96. A valiant chieftain.] Sesostris, or Seson- 
chosis, was king of all Egypt. He reigned next 
in succession after Orus, the son of Isis and Osiris. 
This monarch, having made an inroad into Asia, 
subdued it, and also a considerable part of Europe. 
The most accurate account of his actions is found 
in Herodotus. Theopompus, in his third book, 
calls him Sesostris, not Sesonchosis. Herodotus 
relates, that if he happened to overthrow any na- 
tions in war, he erected columns expressive of the 
manner of his conquest. If the people in ques- 
tion had made a feeble and pusillanimous defence, 
the columns bore certain attributes, or ensigns, of 
the softer sex. If, on the contrary, they had made 
a brave and vigorous defence, the columns bore 
the attributes of the male kind. As to the time 
when Sesonchosis lived, Apollonius says only, in 
general terms, tlidt he was very ancient. But 
Dicearchus, in his second book, says, that Seson- 
chosis affected the Grecian manner of livings 


and was said to have established laws, by wliich 
it was ordained that the son should not forsake 
the trade of his father: the pernntting of which, 
he apprehended, would tend to too great an irre- 
gularity of ranks and conditions. They say, too, 
that he was the first who taught men to ride on 
horseback; though some refer these institutions to 
Cyrus. — Gr. Scho. 

This institution which the scholiast mentions, 
confining the son to the profession of his father, 
is noticed by other writers. Not only the hus- 
bandman and shepherd were obliged to follow the 
vocation of their fathers ; but this ordinance ex- 
tended to all arts and trades : and each person 
was confined to that which his ancestors had exer- 
cised, witi)out a power of medaHng with any 
other. Thus, being cut off from all hopes of rising 
to the magistracy, and having no room for popular 
ambition, they stuck closely to what they pro- 
fessed. Tiiey were never permitted to concern 
themselves with civil affairs ; and if they attempted 
it, or undertook any business which did not belong 
to their hereditaiy profession, they were severely 
punished. There is something like this in what 
prevails at this day in the East Indies, where the 
people are divided into casts or classes, and each 
class is confined to a certain hereditary art or 
employment, and prohibited, under the most for- 
midable penalties, from intermeddling with that 
belonging to another. 

Sesostris was called by various names, as Sesoo- 
sis, Sesonchis, Sesonchosis, Sesothis. Sir Isaac 
Newton is of opinion, that Sesostris is the Osiris^ 
of the E_'yptians, the Bacchus of the Greeks, ^nd 


the Sesac of the Scriptures ; and, among other 
arguments, di-aws one from the passage quoted 
from Dicearclius by the scholiast of ApoUonius. 
He not only overran all the countries which Alex= 
ander afterwards invaded, but crossed both the 
Indus and Ganges; and thence penetrated into the 
Eastern ocean. He thence turned towards the 
north, and attacked the nations of Scytliia, until 
at last he arrived at tlie Tanais, or Don, which 
divides Europe and Asia. Justin, liowever, tells 
us, that Sesostris, dispatching ambassadors to sum- 
mon the Scythians to surrender, they sent back 
his messengers with contempt and defiance, and 
immediately took up arms. Sesostris, being in- 
formed that they were marching towards iiiui, faced 
about suddenly, and fled before them; leaving his 
baggage and warlike apparel to the pursuers, who 
followed him till they had reached the borders of 
Egypt. Pliny relates, that he was overthrown by 
the king of Colchis, lib. xxxiii, c. iii. And Valerius 
Flaccus intimates, (Argonaut, lib. v. ver. 4'20,) 
that he was repulsed with great slaughter, and put 
to flight in these parts. Whether he had good or 
bad siiccess in these countries, it is a common opi- 
nion that he settled a colony in Colchis : though 
Herodotus, who is most worthy of credit, does not 
decide whether it was of his own planting, or 
whether part of his army, tired out, loitered in 
the rear, and voluntarily sat down on the banks 
of the river Phasis. He says, from his own ex- 
perience, that the inhabitants were undoubtedly 
of Egyptian descent, as was visible from the per- 
sonal similitude they bore to the Egyptians, who 
were swarthy and frizle-haired j but more espe- 



cially from the conformity of their customs, par^ 
ticularly circumcision, and from the affinity of 
their lang-uage with that of Egypt. And many 
ages afterwards at E'a, the capital of Colchis, they 
showed maps of their journeys, and the bounds of 
sea and land, for th.e use of travellers; and hence 
came geography. — (See Hesiod. Diod. Sic. lib. i. 
Univ. Hist. vol. ii.) It is rather extraordinary, 
(as some of the commentators of our author, and 
Mr. Bryant observe) that Apollonius, who was 
himself an Egyptian, when he comes to mention 
the exploits of this prince, suppresses his name. 
Perhaps he was doubtful by what appellation most 
properly to distinguish him, as he was known 
under so many. The scholiast quotes an ancient 
writer, named Scymnus, who composed a descrip- 
tion of Asia, as corroborating what is said by 
Herodotus respecting the conquests and colonies 
of Sesostris. It is said by some, that the repulses 
which Sesostris experienced, together with the 
revolt of his brother Danaus, put a stop to his 
victories ; and that, in returning home, he left 
part of his men in Colchis and at Mount Caucasus, 
under Eetes and Prometheus ; and his women 
upon the river Thermodon, under their new queens, 
Marthesia and Lampeto : for Piodorus, speaking 
of the Amazons, says, that they dwelt originally 
in Libya, and there reigned over the Atlantidesj 
and, invading their neighbours, conquered as far as 
Europe. Mr. Whiston is of opinion, that Sesostris 
is tlie very Pharaoh who perished in the Red Sea, 
and the very Typhon of the mythologists. Di- 
cearchus (as quoted by the schohast, on this pre- 
sent passage of Apollonius) says, in his first book* 
that from the reigiL of Sesonchosis to Nilus, was 


a period of two thousand five hundred years; from 
the reign of Nilus to the fourth Olympiad, four 
hundred and thirty-six years: so that the whole 
time made a period of two thousand nine hundred 
and thirty-six years. The passage, in the original, 
is obscure and difficult ; but is certainly curious, 
as being connected with the history and antiqui- 
ties of Egypt. It is one of those in which Apol- 
lonius indulges his passion for ancient history and 
tradition : and as he was a man of great reading, 
he must be considered as preserving many things 
from other ancient writers. 

405. Eii's walls.} The poet makes Argus say, 
that Ea had remained unshaken and prosperous 
from the irruption of Sesostris to his time ; and 
that the descendants of those who had been planted 
in Colchis by that conqueror still subsisted. — 
Gr. Scho. 

411. Tablets sculptur'd.] The ancient Egyptians 
were the inventors of many useful arts and sciences. 
Geometry is, on all hands, agreed to have been 
first found out in their country. It is generally 
supposed too, that astronomy was invented by 
them; as, by reason of the constant serenity of 
the air, and the flatness of the country, they could 
observe the heavenly motions earlier, and with 
more ease, than other people. The Egyptian 
learaing was partly inscribed on columns, and 
partly committed to writing, in the sacred boiks. 
Not only the Egyptians, but several other ancient 
nations, used to preserve the memory of things 
by inscriptions on pillars ; to say nothing of those 
which Seth (as it is pretended) set up, before the 
flood, for the same purpose. We are told, that 
the Babylonians kept their astronomical ol)serva 


tions engraved on bricks ; and Democritus is said 
to have transcribed his moral discourses from a 
Babylonish pillar. But the most famous of all 
were the columns of Hermes in Egypt, mentioned 
by many authors. On them, he is said to have 
inscribed his learning, which was afterwards ex- 
plained more at large, by the second Hermes, in 
several books. It is certain, at least, that, from 
these pillars, the Greek philosophers and Egyp- 
tian historians took many things. Pythagoras and 
Plato both read them, and borrowed their philo- 
sophy from thence. Sanchoniatho and Manetho 
made use of the same monuments, which were still 
remaining in the time of Proclus, or not long 
before. They stood in certain subterraneous 
apartments near Thebes. To these inscriptions 
succeeded the sacred books, somewhat more recent, 
but not less famous ; to which Sanchoniatho and 
Manetho are also said to have been beholden for 
the perfecting of their histories. These books 
not only contained what related to the worship 
of the gods, and the laws of the kingdom, but 
historical collections ; nay, even all kinds of mis- 
cellaneous and philosophical matter of consider- 
able moment; which accounts for their having 
those memorials touching the course of the Danube. 
For it was part of the business of the priests, or 
sacred scribes, to insert in those public registers 
whatever deserved to be recorded and transmitted 
to posterity, as well as carefully to preserve what 
had been delivered down to them from their an- 
cestors. — See Ant. Univ. Hist. vol. i. p. 480. 

411. Tablets sculptnr'd.] Ky^^Etc, in the original, 
which, the scholiast says, means the tables or 
columns of stone on which the laws used to be 


written iii popular states, as is mentioned by 
Apollodorus. These tables were called Kvf^ug, 
quasi Kofv^n^ : first, by a syncope or abbreviation 
of the word ; and, after, by clianging the letter (p 
into /9. This account of the origin of the name 
in question is to be found in the ancient scholiast 
CO the * Clouds of Aristophanes.' It is said, that 
in process of time, when the laws came to be 
written on tablets of wood painted white, they 
were also called cyrbes; although the word properly 
denotes the tables, or columns of stone only, whicli 
contained sacred writings ; as we are assured by 
Eratosthenes. The tablets at Athens, on which 
the laws w ere written, were called 'A^onq. Some, 
who pretend to superior accuracy, say, that the 
a|ov£j were four square stones ; tlie Ky^/Ssjj tri- 
angular ; and that the laws were inscribed, indif- 
ferently, on both the one and the other. — (See the 
Greek scholiast, 1. 280.) In conformity with the 
foregoing account, it will be recollected, that the 
laws of Moses were written by God on tables of 
stone. But, as is justly observed by Halzlinus, 
it does seem that the poet, in the passage before 
us, meant not to speak of the tables on which laws 
were inscribed ; but rather of such tables as are 
mentioned by Elian, in the third book of his Writ- 
ten History, and called by him wivaxia; which, 
in fact, were geographical monuments or delinea- 
tions of different countries, executed on columns 
of stone, plastered over, and after that painted. 
We have had an instance of a work, in the present 
times, of a nature somewhat analogous ; a map, 
or geographical delineation of France, according 


to its later boundaries, engraved or sculptured on 
marble, and coloured. 

415. Remotest horn.] All rivers are said to be 
horns of the ocean. The Ister is said to be a 
remote horn, because it springs in Scytliia, a dis- 
tant region. — Gr. Scho. 

419. Majestic IsterJ] The poet says, that the 
Danube is the same vrith Ister ; whence Ovid calls 
the Ister, Binoraian: and that it descends from 
the country of the Hyperboreans and the Riphean 
hills— (in this he follows the authority of Eschylus, 
in his ' Prometheus freed') and is divided between 
the Scythians and Thracians. And also, that one 
branch falls into tlie sea which bathes the shores 
of Greece, the other into the Adriatic gulf. The 
Riphean hills are situated to the eastward : a cir- 
cumstance to which Callimachus alludes. Eratos- 
thenes, in the third book of his geography, says, 
that this river flows from desert regions, and sur- 
rounds the island of Peuce. But no one, except 
Timagetus, whom ApoUonius followed, pretends 
to say that the Argonauts sailed through the Ister 
into the Grecian sea. Scymnus asserts, that they 
sailed through the Tanais into the great sea, and 
thence into the Grecian sea : he conjectures that 
tlie Argonauts, when they arrived at the continent 
between the two seas, carried their vessel on poles 
or great lances, until they reached the other sea. 
Hesiod asserts, that they sailed through the Phasis : 
Hecateus, consulting him, says, that the Phasis 
could not bring them from Colchis to the sea ; nor 
isill he allow that they sailed through the Tanais. 
He maintains, tliat they held the same route home- 


wards which they had pursued in their way to 
Colchis ; as Sophocles, i;i his Scythians, relates, 
and Callimachus : whence they say it happened, 
that the Scythians, who sailed into the Adriatic sea, 
<lid not meet with the Argonauts, while others, 
who passed through the Cyanean rocks, overtook 
tliera at Corcyra. But the Ister, as soon as it 
comes into tlie region between Scythia and Thrace, 
is divided into two branches; and the one dis- 
charges itself into the Euxine, the other into the 
Tyrrhenian sea. — (Gr. Scho.) Such is the note of 
the ancient annotator on our poet : it is not very 
clear or intelligible. Probably, the text may have 
been corrupted : I have given it in his own words. 
It is, however, curious, and deserving of notice, 
as it shows the strange notions which the ancients 
entertained ; and their gross ignorance on geogra- 
phical subjects. 

It is not surprising that our author, and other 
poets, either from real ignorance, or from their 
desire of entertaining their readers by fabulous 
and fanciful embellishments, and marvellous inci- 
dents, should depart from physical and geographi- 
cal truth, as they have done in many instances ; 
^nd from authentic history; since we find such 
onaterial deviations, in this respect, in such a sober 
and judicious writer as Herodotus, who took con- 
«iderable pains on the subject of geography. The 
Danube was the greatest river, excepting the Nile, 
kuown to Herodotus. He conceived, that it 
imderwent two variations in size in Summer and 
"Winter ; (Melpom. 48—50.) — See, too, his errors 
as to the relative position of the Caspian, Euxine, 
sind Periiian seas, to each other, and to the Medj 


terranean. It is observable, too, that ApoIloDhin 
does not here speak in bis own person, or pledge 
himself for the truth of what is advanced, respect- 
ing the course of the Danube, the face of the 
country, or the difil'erent routes by which the Ar- 
gonauts might expect to reach Greece from Col- 
dics. He cautiously puts all that is said on the 
subject into the mouth of Argus, who professes to 
derive his knowledge from the traditions of the 
ancient Egyptians ; and in making him deviate 
from the truth, one might imagine that the poet 
thought he gave a more faithful picture of the 
rudeness and ignorance of the age he meant to 
describe ; did we not find him, in the sequel, ac- 
tually conducting his Argonauts home, by a route 
which sets geography at defiance. 

The poet must confound the Ripliean or Scy- 
thian mountains, at the heads of the Tanais, with 
the Alps; or else must have been wholly ignorant 
of the true source of the Danube ; which rises 
(see Cox's travels into Swisserland, vol. i. p. 3,) 
neai the Alps ; in that part of the circle of Suabia, 
on the west, which adjoins the Swiss bounds, at a 
place called Donesckingen. ' This place is the 
principal residence of the Prince of Fursteuberg, 
and in the court-yard of the palace the Danube 
takes its rise.' — See too Pliny, lib. iv. cap. 12. 

4^2. Boreas 'gins to blotcl The springs of the 
Ister are not exactly to the north of Greece, but 
to the north-west. Nor is what the poet says of 
the Kiphean hills, (which, with respect to the 
Danube, must be taken to be the same with the 
Alps,) namely, that they are seated beneath the 
north pole, to be exactly scrutinized. It is ac- 


tually a part of poetic skill to seem to think, and 
really to speak, witli the vulgar ; and to mask the 
truth, by choice, in fables, that it may not shine 
out too palpably, and become less susceptible of 
ornament. Stuckius says, that by Riphean moun- 
tains here, Apoilonius means the Rhetian Alps. — 

428. Trinacria's tides.'] The sea that washed the 
shores of Sicily, called Trinacria ; from its three 
promontories, Pachinus, Lilybaeum, and Pelorus. 
The poet means to say, that one branch of the 
Ister flows into the Adriatic, the other into the 
Tuscan sea ; which, by catachresis, he calls the Tri- 
nacrian sea. — Gr. Scho. 

429. My native coast.'] Greece. Argus here 
speaks of himself as a Grecian ; and properly does 
so, being sprung from Athamas : and he confirms 
his assertion by adding, Greece is my native land, 
as sure as Achelous is a Grecian river. — See the 
Gr. Scho. 

437. Lycus' offspring.] Dascylus, son of Lycus, 
king of the IMariandyni, who had been sent by his 
father as a guide to the Argonauts, and had hi- 
therto accompanied them.— See book ii. 

454. Ionian bound.] The Ionian sea was pro^ 
perly that which bathes the coast of Italy on the 
one hand, and part of Greece and Dalmatia oh 
the other ; and into which the Adriatic opens. It 
took its name from lonius, a person of Illyrian 
race; as Theopompus mentions in his twenty-first 
book. — (Gr. Scho.) Or rathw, from the tribe of 
lonians ; who peopled great part of Greece and 
Asia Minor ; and are supposed to be the descen- 
dants of Javan. Thus Milton says : ' The Ionian 


gods, of Javan's issue held gods.' It was called by 
some, anciently, the Adriatic ; indeed, the two 
names of Ionian and Adriatic were used indiffe- 

457. Pence.'] Eratosthenes, in his geography, 
writes, that in the Danube there is an island of a 
triangular form, equal in dimension to Rhodes ; 
that this island abounds in pines, whence it takes 
its name ; that the vertex of the triangle is turned 
towards the course of the river, dividing the 
stream ; and that the base or broadest side is pre- 
sented to the sea. Its two other sides are thus 
placed parallel to the banks of the river. — Gr. 

465. Through this.'] The two channels, by which 
the Danube is said here to discharge itself into 
the sea, were called Arax and Calon. The Argo- 
nauts passed through the former ; Aljsyrtus, with 
the Colchians, through the latter. — Gr. Scho. 

469. The rude and timorous, Sfc] Dryden endea- 
vours to describe an impression of this kind, in his 
play of the Indian Emperor, (Act i. Sc. 2.) but 
exaggerates the thoughts to bombast ; as is too 
frequently his manner. 

474. Scythian race.] The country of the Scy- 
thians answered to that of the Ukraine, the No- 
f ais Tartars, and the Don Cossacs. This is a flat 
country : the Laurian plain here spoken of, was 
one of those extensive plains in which Scythia 
abounded. Timonax (as quoted by the Greek 
schoHast) writes, in his first book concerning Scy- 
thia, that there were fifty different tribes belong- 
ing to that country. The Sigunui and Graucenii 
were oi the number, Tiie former took tbei4- 


Rame from a kind of spear used by them. The 
Sindi were the people in whose region the Ister 
divided itself Hellanicus, in his first book con- 
cerning nations, says, that as you sail into the 
Bosporus, the Sindi occur; and above them the 
Maeotee, or Maeotic Scythians. — (Gr. Scho.) There 
were, in fact, two countries of the name of Scy- 
thia — the Western or Euxine, and the Eastern or 
country of the Massagetae. Western Scythia was 
a member of Europe ; Eastern, of Asia. 

475. The wild Si^y7iian, ^c] Herodotus speaks 
thus of the country, Euterp. 19. ' With respect 
to the more northern parts of this region, and its 
inhabitants, (Thrace) nothing has yet been deci- 
sively ascertained. What lies beyond the Ister 
is a vast and almost endless space. The whole of 
this, (as far as I am able to learn) is inhabited by 
the Sigj'nae, a people who in dress resemble the 
INIedes ; their horses are low in stature and of a 
feeble make, but their hair grows to the length of 
five digits. They are not able to carry a man ; 
but, yoked to a carriage, are remarkable for 
swiftness : for which reason, carriages are here 
very common. The confines of this people extend 
almost to the Eneti, on the Adriatic. They call 
themselves a colony of the Medes.' 

479. Angurus.] A mountain near the river Ister. 
Timagetus mentions it, in his work on ports and 
harbours. — Gr. Scho. 

480. Cauliac rock.] This was a rock in Scythia, 
near the Ister, of which Polemo speaks in his ori- 
gin of Italian and Sicilian colonies. It is said by 
the poet, that the Ister divides into its two arm« 


at Mount Angunis ; one going to the Euxine, the 
other to the Adriatic sea. — Gr. Scho. 

485. Chronian deep,] The Adriatic sea. It was 
called Chronian, because of the supposition timt 
Chronus or Saturn passed from Greece into Italy, 
which bordered on the Adriatic sea. Hence 
Italy is called, by V^irgil, Saturnian : Salve magrm 
parens rerum Satumia tellus. This fable is men- 
tioned by Ennius, in his Annals : Saturnus quern 
Celu, genuit; and by L. Accius, in his Annals, as 
quoted by Macrobiiis. The near situation of Italy 
to the west of Greece, naturally led the Greeks to 
transfer Chronus to Italy. Anciently, also, it was 
believed, that the west was nearer to the infernal 
regions, and therefore to Tartarus, whither Saturn 
was thrust down. — So Virgil, vEneid, lib. viii. 
ver. 319. On account of this flight of Saturn, the 
Adriatic sea is called KoXtt©^ f ea?, the ' bosom of 
Rhea,' by ^schylus, in his Prometheus, ver. 836. 
See professor Heyne's fifth essay on the seven- 
teenth book of the /Encid. 

491. Dian.] In the original, Artemis Bryteis, 
er rather Brygeis; from the Bryges or Brygii, a 
people of Illyria, who are mentioned in a subse- 
quent part of this book. See ver. 471, or Bryges, 
quasi Phryges. See a preceding note on the 

505, Treaty.'] The Minya?, finding themselves 
so much outnumbered by the Colchians, and fear- 
ing that they might be overpowered and cut off by 
them, resorted to artifice to supply what they 
wanted in force: or, at least, to produce some 
advantage by delay. They, therefore, entered 
into a negociation with their opponents, tending 


to a compromise; the terms of which were to be^ 
that Medea should remain, for a time, in the 
hands of certain arbitrators, who were to deter- 
mine whether she should be restored to her pa- 
rents, or remain with Jasen ; and that, in the 
meanwhile, the Argonauts should retain the pos- 
session of the golden fleece. It seems to be pro- 
bable, that the Argonauts, having gained their 
object by the assistance of Medea, did not wish 
to be encumbered with her ; or, at least, did not 
desire to expose themselves to any dangers on her 
account, and therefore seriously thought of giving 
her up, until they were turned from their purpose 
by her spirit and eloquence. This part of the 
original is very obscure and unsatisfactory. It 
does not appear who, on the part of the Argo- 
nauts, entered into the negociation mentioned by 
the poet. Perhaps Jason himself secretly wished 
to leave Medea behind. The poet also has forgot 
to mention who were the arbitrators, whose deci- 
sion was to be conclusive as to the destiny of 
Medea. They were, most probably, some princes 
of the neighbourhood. Apollodorus here differs 
from our poet. 

523. She mark'd, ^c.]. Our poet was certainly 
much indebted for the impassioned and eloquent 
passage which succeeds to the Medea of Euri- 
pides, which contains some of the most pathetic 
and beautiful sentiments imaginable on the subject 
of a wife being deserted by her husband. Virgil 
has imitated the expostulatory address of Medea 
to Jason ; vEneid, lib. iv. ver. 605. There is the 
same passion in both. It seems also, that Ca- 
tullus bad this passage of our author in view in hi« 


fine poem of the Epithalamium of Peleus and 
Thetis, where he introduces Ariadne complaining : 

Siccine me patriis abductam perfide ab oris 
Perfide, &c. 

And particularly in the line following, which seemg 
to be a transcript from ApoUonius : 

At non hac quo7idam blanda promissa dedlsti. 

The passages in Virgil are so universally known, 
that it were idle to transcribe them here; the 
reader, who turns to them, will see how closely the 
Latin poet follows his Grecian master. 

Medea was one of those dramatic characters 
which Horace considered as fully known and 
ascertained by tradition : Sit Medea ferox invic- 
iaque. Our author has well adhered to the outline 
of this delineation. In every situation she exhi- 
bits a fierce and indomitable mind. At the same 
time, she is not divested of feminine softness, 
and the graces of her sex. This shows great art 
and happiness, the hand of a master in the 

610. To hurl the brand.] The same idea occurs 
to Dido, in the fourth iEneid, Implessemque foros 
Jiammis: and a little after, Blemet super ipsu 

633. This treaty shall confound.'^ According to 
the account given of it by Jason, the artifice of 
the treaty consisted in the deceiving Absyrtus 
with the prospect of obtaining what he sought in 
a peaceable manner, and inducing him to wait 
until his numerous forces should disband of them- 
selves; after which, it seems to have been the 


plan of the Argonauts and their leader, to tall 
upon him when they found his numbers greatly 
diminished by the departure of his followers. The 
speech of Jason is ptrfectly in character ; calm, 
artful, and plausible. 

656. Heralds.^ These must have been heralds 
sent from the Colchians, for the purpose of re- 
claiming Medea : ^ If I can induce these men, 
(says the princess) by ray artful representations, 
to co-coperate in my views, they may be made 
the instruments of inducing Absyrtus to come 
and put himself into our power.' 

658. Bij thine hand to full. 1 There is something, 
perhaps, that shocks probabiUty and decorum in 
tlie ferocity of the sentiments attiibuted here to 
Rledea. — Yet the Lady Macbeth of Shakspeare 
is equally tierce and sansuinary. 

666. Lemnian qucen.'\ Hypsipile. She was 
daughter to Thoa?, king of Lemnos, who was the 
son of Bacchus and Ariadne. We have seen, in 
the first book, how the life of this prince waa 
preserved by the piety of his daughter. 

678. Xyseian god.] Bacchus was so called from 
Nysa, a city of Arabia, where he was nursed. 
There was also another city of the same name in 
India, founded by 15acchus. One of the two 
tops of Momit Parnassus, which was consecrated 
to Bacchus, was likewise called Nysa. 

681. From Knossus.] Tliis was a city of Crete, 
whence Theseus bore away Ariadne, the daughter 
of Minos, king of the island. Tliere is something 
ingenious and happily ominous of tlie future fate 
of Medea, in the making Jason present her with 
§ifts which he had received fr(/m II) psipile, who^i 


he abandoned ; and which had formerly belonged 
to Ariadne, who had been deserted by Theseus. 

682. Dia's shore.] This was the same with th« 
island of Naxus. Callimachus recognises this 
appellation, which was more ancient than that of 

696. HurVd spells.] Thus Milton, in his mask 
of Comus, 

My dazzling spells into the spungy air, 

Of power to cheat the eyes with blear illusion. 

699. Pernicious love.] Thus we have 'OyX*^ 
f^wj. And, in Virgil, ^neid iv. 

Impi-obe amor, quid non mortalia pectora cogis ? 

And again, 

Qaid non mortalia pectora cogis, auri sacra 
Fames ? 

703. O muse, relate.] The poet here invokes 
the muse to relate the subsequent transaction, in 
order to show how apprehensive he was, that the 
unnatural atrocity of Medea might appear incre- 
dible to posterity ; and might, therefore, require 
the sanction of divine testimony. Apollonius is 
not here like some writers, wiio think it incum- 
bent on them to make their heroes and heroines 
always in the right, and to find or invent some 
plausible pretence for every thing they do. He 
does not attempt to conceal or palliate the turpi- 
tude of the conduct of Medea and Jason, but 
speaks of them with the proper abhorrence that 
their crime deserved- 


731. Wily sister.'] See the desciiption of the 
character of Pandora in He^iod. 

738. Veil.'] The cjicunistance of Medea's co- 
vering her face with her veil, that she might not 
see the death of her brother, thoogh she was t!ie 
very person who had suggested the idea of mur- 
dering him, had instigated Jason to commit the 
deed, and even delivered the victim into his 
hands, reminds one of the momentary and abor- 
tive remorse of Lady Macbeth : 

* Had he not resembled 

My father as lie blept, myself had don't ?* 

The circumstance of the veil might have been 
suggested to the poet by the device of Timaut'ies 
the painter, who, representing the sacrifice of 
Iphigenia, and finding himself unable to depict 
the feelings of Agamemnon, threw a veil over the 
face of the monarch; and made him cover his 
eyes, that he misht not behold the sacrifice of his 

758. Fury.] Tiie origin of the Furies was very 
extraordinary, and worthy of their nature and 
functions. Wht-n Chronus, the son of Uranus, at 
the instigation of his mother Terra, dismembered 
his father, the Furies were produced fioni the 
drops of blood v/liich fell on the ground at that 
time. iEschylus, however, makes them the daugh- 
ters of Night. Epimenides, or rather Empedo- 
cles, assigns Chronus as their father in these lines: 

Ex tu xai>.Xuo/viof ytvelo X.t^'^^ a<ffo3iTn 

« Of him was golden Venus radiant hair'd, 
Of him the' etern-tl Fates, and last dread birth. 
The Fuiit?, ranging earth to punish crime*.' 


761. First-fruits.'\ As of victims slain at the 
altar, from which certain parts were taken in the 
first instance. The ancients were possessed with 
such a weak superstition, that they believed if any 
person were treacherously slain, the murderer 
might escape the punishment due to his guilt, and 
still the terrors of his own conscience, if he were 
to cut oft" certain extremities of the dead body, 
and suspend them under his arm-pits. Tiiis was 
called Nsxfov /xacrxaXi^Eiv. We find this custom 
alluded to in the Electra of Sopiiocle?. — See Gr. 
Scho. and Ha>lzlinns. 

771. Entomb'd his bones.] There was a city 
built at the place where the bones of Absyrtus 
were buried, called after him Absyrtus. It is 
mentioned by Apollodorus Eustatliius in his com- 
ment on Dionysius Periegetes, and by Strabo, 
lib. vii. 

792. Peleiis thus.] This speech of Peleus is 
well suited to his character, which was a happy 
mixture of prudence and daring. The Argonauts 
were even yet apprehensive of the Colchians, and 
doubtful whether they should put to sea, until 
they were determined by his arguments. 

806. ElectrisJ] This was an island near the 
mouth of the river Po, in the Adriatic gulf. — See 
subsequent notes. 

81o. Dispersed they roam.'] Some of these Col- 
chians settled in the region where Absyrtus was 
treacherously killed, and lay interred, and were 
called from him Absyrtensians. Others of them 
settled in Iliyria, in the district of Enchelyes, 
near the Ceraunian mountains, (Gr. Scho.) The 
Ceraunian mountains were high hills, 05i the bor- 


dci-s of Epiriis, near Valona, reacliing even to the 
sea, where tlie Ionian sea is separated from the 
Adriatic, They are now called Monti di Chi- 
mera. Heyne observes, that it is said by Apol- 
loniiis that tlie Colchians, who settled at tiie 
Ceraunian mountaiii-, misrated from the continent 
to an island opposite. Now there is no island 
oppo:>ite and contisiuous to tiie Ceraunian monn- 
taius of Epiiu<. There were indeed, in Illyrir.inn, 
Ceraunian mountains, which are mentioned both 
by Pliny and Ptolemy, and there are a multitude 
of islands opposite to lUyricum. The recollec- 
tion of this may throw some light on the passage 
of Apollonius before us. 

824. Cadmus, Harmonia.'] Harmonia was a 
princess of Samothrace, the daughter of Corytus, 
by Electra, the daughter of Atlas. Her brothers 
were Jasius and Dardanus. The former suc- 
ceeded his taiher in the kingdom of Samothrace, 
whence he removed to Phr\'gia, and left the 
government of Samothrace to his brother Darda- 
nus. Harmonia married Cadmus, whom her bro- 
ther had initiated in the mysteries of religion. 
According to other fables, Cadmus married Her- 
mione, the daughter of Mars and V'enus ; or, as 
others call her, Harmonia ; on \\ hich occasion the 
gods came to Cadmus, and assisted at his wed- 
iling. By her he had a son, named Polydorus, 
and four daughters, Semele, iiio, Antonoe, Agave. 
For the fate of these, see Ovid and Euripides. — 
Vide Apollodori Bibliotheca, lib. iii.cap. 4. 

ij2i). Enchelean race.] These people lived on 
the confines of lllyria ; being at war with the 
lUyvians, their neighbours, they were commanded 


by the oracle to choose Cadmus as their general. 
He left Thebes to his son Polydorus, and went to 
head them. Here it is that he and his wife were 
feigned to have been turned into serp( nts ; a 
story, to which the name of tlie people among 
whom they settled might have given occasion. 
Some interpret tliis fable to signify, that they 
degenerated from their pristine civility to bar- 
barians. Here Cadmus had another son, whom 
he either called Illyrius, from the lUyrians, his 
new-conquered subjects, or else that people took 
their name fiom him : Dionysius Periegetes speaks 
thus of the transformation of Cadmus and Har- 
monia, and of the tomb erected to their memory : 

TdjujSov ov *A^/xovi>); KaS/j-oio 71 4»jfXij ivicnuti 
Kn^i ya^ h; Tofiixv (rx/XiOV yiv^ >)XX>]^avTO 
Ottttot' tiTT 'l<r|U>3vy XiTragov yn^rig r/.ovTo. 

833. Hyllean seats.} The Hyllenses were a 
people of Illyria. They were so called from 
Hylhis, the son of Hercules. Hercules had this 
son by the nymph Melita. 

857. Pheacia.] This was the ancient name of 
tlie island of Corcyra, so much celebrated by 
Homer and our poet; and so famous, in latter 
times, for the dreadful seditions which raged 
among its inhabitants. It is now known by the 
nan»e of Corfu. It was subject, for some centu- 
ries, to the Venetians ; but has lately become part 
of the republic of tlie Seven Islands. 

8/?8. Melita.'] The nymph Melita was the daugh- 
ter of Nereus, whose residence was in the Egean 
sea.— See post, ver. y2i^). The island of Malta 
seems to have been called after her. 



860. Nausithous-I He was the son of Neptune 
and Peribea, and father of Alcinous. 

862. 3Iacris.'\ An island on tlie coast of Caria. 
It was anciently known by tiie name of Scheiia. 

866. In frantic mood, Sfc.Ji Eurystlieus, sou of 
Sthenolus, who reigned in Mycenae, began to look 
on Hercules with a jealous eye, on account of 
his title to the crown, as being the reputed son 
of Amphyti-yon, the cousin-gernian of Eurystlieus; 
and fearing lest, in time, he should be dispossessed 
by the hero, his hatred and jealousy rose to such 
height, that he left no means untr.ed to destroy 
him. Hercules, who was not insensible of the 
motives which led Eurystheus to engage him per- 
petually in some desperate enterprise or otiier, 
consulted the oracle on the subject; and received 
for answer, that it was the pleasure of the gods 
that he should serve, and implicitly obey Eu- 
rystheus, for twelve years. By this response he 
was thrown into a deep melancholy, winch, in 
the end, turned into furious madness; durnig the 
paroxysms of which, among other outrageous 
acts, he put away his wife Megara, and murdered 
all his children by her, which are supposed to 
have been twelve ; because the king imposed on 
him that number of labours, as an expiation for 
their death. After this, he was restored to his 
senses. It must have been long after these events 
that the Argonautic enterprise took place, since 
they are alluded to in the course of the narrative. 

885. Sin^, ye Muses.] Thus Millon, Paradise 
Lost, book i. 

Say, muse, their names theu known, who first, who lait^ 
Rous'd from their sloinber on that fiery couch» 


Tlie poet inlcvrogatcs the muse how the Aigo- 
nauts pursued their voyage after the death of 
Absyrtus ; and Jiovv they arrived at tlie sea. 
This invocation of tiie muse is introduced to give 
a greater air of solemnity and authenticity to the 
narrative. Apollonius seems to have been aware, 
that many would censure the long narrative of 
the circuitous navigation of liis heroes, as wholly 
fictitious and improbable. He seems to liave 
known the true description of earth, as far as it 
was known then ; and to have designedly made 
the truth bend to poetical tradition ; from wliich, 
perhaps, he did not think liimself at Uberty to 
depart, in a story of so much celebrity, and which 
bad been treated by so many writers, as the Argo- 
nautic expedition. It is observable, that Anollo- 
dorus the Athenian, a prose writer, agrees with 
our poet in the most wild and romantic parts of 
his story, and particularly in the gross deviations 
from geographical truth. This evinces, t'l^at all 
the incidents of the Argonautictale divine,' were 
so received and settled, by general tradition, that 
a departure from them would have appeared a 
sort of sacrilege. The poet, therefore, meant his 
invocation of tlie nmse as a sort of apology for 
his deviation from what he knew to be true ; for 
his gross and monstrous errors in points of geo- 
graphy. It is intended as an intimation to his 
reader, that he himself did not believe in what he 
narrated, l)ut knew it to be fictitious. After all, 
why should Apollonius be more accurate than 
Virgil ? The description of the strait of Messina 
of the latter, with its Scylla and Charybdis, is 
known to be a mere poetic fiction. In truth, the 


tiarrative of the voyage of the Argonauts is not 
more improbable, tlian those which Homer and 
Virgil give of the wanderings of tiieir heroes in 
the narrow seas branching out into the Mediter- 
ranean, for ten or for seven years : the shortest 
of which periods would have been sufficient for 
compassing the globe of the earth repeatedly. 

886. Ausonian.'] Some critics have Charged 
Apollonius with an anachronism, in ascribing the 
name of Ausonia to Italy, as if it were an appel- 
lation of the country at the time of the Areonautic 
expedition ; whereas, it acquired this name at a 
subserjuent period frotn Auson, the son of Ulysses 
and Calypso; but it seeins to be rather severe and 
hypercritical to treat poets as if they were bound, 
like historians, to strict chronological exactness. 
—See Gr. Scho. 

887. Ligustic isles."] They were three in num- 
ber, Ij-ing adjacent to the coast of Italy. They 
were also called Stechades, from Srot;)^©^, ' a 
rank,' because they lay all in a row. T!ie rirst was 
called Prota, the middle Mesa, the last Hypea : 
names expressive of their respective positions. 
They are mentioned by Pliny, lib. iii. cap. 5. 
They are called Ligustic, froui the people who 
inhabited them, the Ligurians ; who also gave 
their name to that sea. They are now known by 
the name of the Hieres isles. They are situated 
near Marseilles, on the coast of Provence : Tres 
atcEchades a vicinis massiliensihus dicta: propter 
ordinem. Quas item nomlnant singulis vocahuli^j 
proten, et mesen, qua: et Potnponia vacatur, tertia 
Hypaa. (Pliny). ITie Ligurians were aaciently 


an Iberian tribe, and possessed all the inaritime 
places, not only of Gaul and Italy, but also of 
Spain : and, therefore, even Gades, now Cadiz, 
is njentioned by Stephanus Byzantimis, as a Li- 
gustic^^city. The Ligures are said, in Thucydides, 
(lib. vi.) to have expelled the Sicani, an Iberian 
race, from Spain. So Dionys. lib. xxii. — Diodo. 
Sic. lib. V. — Silius Ital. li.b. xiv. ver. 34, 55. 

907. Hyllean plain.] That part of Illyria before 
mentioned, uear the place wiiere Absyitus uas 

909. Lihurnian seats.'] Libnrnia was the coun- 
try of Croatia, having Dalmatia on the south and 
east ; on the west, Carniola and Istria. Some of 
these people settled in Italy. Pliny speaks of the 
Insulae Liburnicae, lib. iii. cap. 26. — lUyrici ora 
amplius milk insulis frcquentatur — natura vadosi 
maris estuuiiisque intercursantibuSy &c. &c. Nee 
pauciores Libnrnicce, &c. &c. — Apollonius here, 
however, seems rather to mean Austrian Dalma- 
tia. — See Apollodori Bibliotheca, 

911. Issa.] This was one of the islands in the 
Adriatic sea, near the coast of Liburnia. 

911. Pityea.] This was another island, near the 
Liburnian coast. It is mentioned by Homer, who 
calls it Pityusa. 

913. Corcyra.] There seems to be a good deal 
of confusion in writers respecting the name of 
Corcyra. Eustathius, in his comment on Diony- 
sinsPeriegetes, tells us, that there were two islands 
of the name of Corcyra : the one, at the Ionian 
bay (the Adriatic), called also Pheacia; the other, 
within the Ionian bay. By the former, he mean* 


Corfu, as it is now called, on the coast of Albania. 
By the other, an island, anciently called Melaena, 
and at present Curzola, near tlse head of tUe 
Adriatic gulf. It is of the latter island that the 
poet speaks in this place. Besides Curzola, there 
are a great number of islands, clustering near each 
other, on this coast : as Brazza, Lesina, Cazzola, 
Meleda, and Lajjosta. It should seem, that an- 
ciently the island of Egina also bore the name of 

916. Phlius.] A town of Peloponnesus, near 
the mountains of Sicyon, otherwise known by 
the name of Arethyrea. 

919. Black Corcyra] Thus the island of Cur- 
zola was anciently called Melena. 

9:^2. Melita.] The poet docs not here speak of 
the island of Malta, between Sicily and Africa, so 
famous in modern history : but of an island be- 
tween Italy and Epirus, or, according to some, 
between Corcyra and lilyricnm. It is mentioned 
by Pliny. 

'J'zo. Cei-ossus—JSymphea.] These were others 
from among the many islands that stretch from 
Albania along the coast of Dalmatia and Croatia, 

9.^6. Calypso.] Our poet calls Calypso the 
daughter of Atlas ; others make her the daughter 
of Oceanus and Teihys. Our poet calls the island 
■where she dwelt Nymphea : it is called by others 
Ogygia. She entertained Ulysses after his ship- 
wreck, and he remained Avitli her six or seven 
years. — See Homer, Odyss. 

928. Ceraunia.] From being often the marks of 
thunder-storms. High hills on the borders of 


Epinis, near Valona, where the Ionian sea is se-* 
parat^d from the Adriatic, and reaching even to 
the sliore ; now Monti di Chiiiiera. 

9,'9. Jicno] The goddess, says t!ie poet, appre- 
hending the hostile designs of Jupiter, raised a 
violent storm, in order that the Argonauts might 
escape the doom wliich awaited them, by desist- 
ing from their course, and arriving at the isle 
of Circe, called Electris ; which, liad they perse- 
vered in the course they then held, they would 
hot have had occasion to visit. Thus they would 
have failed of obtaining expiation. 

939. Dodona's wood.'] Dodona was a city of 
Epirus, on the confines of Thessaly. It was 
famous for a fountain and a grove, consecrated to 
Jupiter, where was an oracle. The answers were 
given by tlie whispering of the leaves, which pro- 
duced certain articulate sounds. 

949. Tivins of Leda.] Castor and Pollux were, 
probably, selected for this transaction, on a sup- 
position that their prayers and intercession would 
be most agreeable to Jupiter, whose sons they 
were, by Leda, the wife of Tyndarus. 

965. Voimg' Phaeton.] So Ovid, Metam. lib. it. 
1. 319. Pliaeton was the son of Phebus and 
Clymene, who espoused Merops. Having set the 
world on fire, he was struck with lightning by 
Jupiter. — This fable of Phaeton may, perhaps, be 
borrowed from the traditions of the fall of Lu- 

973. The daughters of the sun.] vSo Ovid, lib. ii. 
Ver. 340. 

97i. Enclosed in poplars.] Ovid, who seems ta 



have studied our poet attentively, and has fre- 
quently imitated him, says, 

Cortex in verba novissima vtnit. 

Indc Jiuunt lacrymtr ; stiUataque sjle rigescunt, 
De rumis Ekctra nnlt: qvus lucidus amnis 
Lxcipit, ct iiurlbus rnittit gestunda Latinis. 

Met. ii. 36d. 

The occasion of Phaeton's demanding the chariot 
of the sun was liis being reproached by Epaphus, 
the son of Jupiter and lo, as falsely dcrivin:; his 
birth from Apollo. Ovid fancifully pretends that 
the people of Ethiopia (to whicli re. ion, or to 
Egypt, Phaeton is supposetl to have belonged) 
became black, in consequence of the confli^ra- 
tion and excessive heat produced at that time by 
their countryman : 

Sanguine turn credunt in corpora summa locato, 
Ethiopum populos nigrum traxisse col-Jiem. 

985. Celtic race.] The Celtes, or Gauls, were 
the descendants of Gomer, according to the best 
authorities, as the Scythians were of Magog, his 
next brother : althougli th.e Celtes and Scyt'iians 
have been confounded together by m.uiy ancient 
writers. They had some appellations, which seem 
evidently to allude to the name of Gon\er; as 
Cymbrians, Cimmerians, Camruerians. All Eu- 
rope, and the far greater part of Asii, were 
peopled by these two famous nations ; the fom)er, 
from the utmost parts of Spain to Eiuopean 
Scythia eastward ; tiie latter, from thence aimost 
to the territories of China. The sons of Gomer mi- 
grated gradually from Asia to Europe, and passed. 


in regular progress, from Phrygia, tlieir tirst set^ 
tlement, through Thrace, Hungai-y, Germany, 
Gaul, Italy, till they had spread themselves to the 
utmost borders of Spain. 

990. Hyperborean climes-l The term Hyper- 
boreans, among the Greeks, had different signifi- 
cations in different ages, according to the pro- 
gress of geographical knowledge. Their country 
seems to have been anciently a Terra incognitay 
and the name a sort of vague relative term. 
Herodotus places the Hyperboreans to the north 
of the Scythians. The situation of their country 
does not appear to have been precisely known to 
him. He thought it began about the meridian of 
the Tanais (now the Don), and extended indefi- 
nitely eastward, occupying the country quite to 
the sea, in the extreme part of the north. (Melp. 
13 and S6). He says they were the only people 
in the world who were not always at war with 
their neighbours, perhaps because they had no 
neighbours with whom they could engage in hos- 
tilities. By the extended bounds which Hero- 
dotus gives to Europe, making it greater than 
Asia, it appears that he meant to include the Hy- 
perboreans in that division of the earth. The 
Hyperboreans of Herodotus must have been the 
people of Russia, and part of Siberia, who 
inhabit along the rivers Oby and Irtish. Britain, 
according to Diodorus Siculus, was the Hyber- 
borean country of more ancient times ; and after 
that, the more remote northern parts of Europe 
and Asia, which the Greeks knew only by report. 
Pliny the historian is more particular in his de- 
scription of the Hyperboreans than any other 



writer. He places them beyond tlie Ripheau 
mciintains, at the heads of theTanais and Jaik. — 
See lib. iii. cap. 12. The reader who wishes for 
more detailed information on this subject, will 
find it in Major Rennell's work on the geography 
of Herodotus. There were, in fact, so many 
inconsistent fables among the ancients respecting 
tlie country and situation of the Hyperboreans, 
that aiodern geographers have been unable to 
reconcile them. — (See Gesner de Navigationibus 
intra Columnas Herculis). Callimachus, in his 
Hymn to Delos, speaks of the Hyperboreans as 
a distinct nation, and a people of great antiquity. 
Pindar places them near the Atlantic isles, or 
islands of the Blessed, which were supposed to 
Lave been opposite to Mauritania in the Medi- 
terrean sea, and speaks of their religious rites. — 
See Olymp. Ode 3. and Pythic Ode 10.— His 
words are, 

The words of Pliny, in the passage mentioned 
above, (lib. iv. cap. 12.) and of P. Mela, show, 
that they understood by Hyperboreans very dif- 
ferent people : Pone eos montes, ultraque Aquilo- 
nem, gens felix, (si credimus) quos Hyperboreos 
appellavcre, annoso degit cvo, fabulosis ceUbrata 
miraculis. IIA creduntur esse cardiyies mundi, ex- 
tremique sideriim ambitus, srmestri luce et un& die 
solis aversi ; mm, ut imperiti dixere, ab equinoctio 
verso in autumnum semel in anno solstitio, oriuntur 
iis soles brumaque, semel occidunt. Regio aprica 
felici temperie omni affiatu noxia carens : downs iif 


neynora Incique, et deorum cultus viritim gi'egar 
timque : discordia igtiota, et cgri tu do omnis, &c. 
Plia. Hist. Nat. Pherenicus says of the Hyper- 
boreans : 

Pomponiiis Mela (lib. iii. cap. 5.) says : In AsUttico 
litore primi Hyperborei, super Aqullouem, Ripheos- 
qne monies: sub ipso siderum cardhiejacent, ubi 
sol, nan quolidie lit nobis, sed primum verno equi- 
noctio exortus autumnali deinum occidit, et idea 
sex 7nensihus dies, et totidem aliis, usque continua 
nox est, &c. Wiiich shows, that by Hyperborei, 
Meia understood the people so near tlie pole, as to 
have six months day, the same night. Herodotus 
says, (Thalia llj) that it \vas certain both tin 
and amber were brouuht from the extreme regions 
of the north ; and amber, in particular, from the 
river Eridanus, which discharged itself into the 
North sea. On this name Eridanus, he observes, 
that it is certainly of Greek derivation, and not 
barbarous ; and was, as he conceives, introduced 
by one of their poets. L'Archer observes, that 
the Endanus here alluded to could not possibly 
be any other than the Rho-daun, which empties 
itself into the Vistula, near Dantzic ; and on the 
banks of which amber is now found in large 

993. Lacerea.1 This place seems to be put for 
Lai issa, a town of Thessaly ; or, perhaps, there 
is some corruption of the text here. Corouis, the 


another of iEsciilapius, is called, by Ovid, ' Larissea 
Coionis,' lib. ii. ver. 54i>. 

Pulchrior in totu quam Larissea Coro7iis . 
Nonfvit JEinoniu,. 

'jy4. Cojoww.] ^sciilapius, according to ancient 
mythology, was the sonof Phebiis, and the nymph 
Coronis, who was otherwise called Arsinoe. She 
being too familiar with Ischis, the son of Elatus 
of Thessaly, a raven spied them together, and 
acquainted Apollo with it, who slew the nymph, 
and ripped the infant out of her woi\ib, whom 
be named jEsculapius, and committed to the 
care of Chiron the centaur. Hence, it is said, 
the raven's feathers, wliich before were white, 
were changed into black, tiiat he might mourn for 
everfor the death of Coroiiis, — iEsculapius,becom- 
ing supremely skilful in the art of healing, restored 
to life Giaucus, the son of Minos ; or, according 
to other accounts, Hippoly tus, the son of Theseus ; 
on which account he was struck with lightning 
by Jupiter. Apollo, being unable to avenge him- 
self on Jiipiter in person, resolved to attack the 
Cyclops who had forged the thunderbolts, and 
destroyed them. For this deed he was driven 
from lieaven by Jupiter; and forced to serve 
Admetus, king of Thessaly. — Hjginus, fab. 49. 
^sculapius is said to have been the tirst who dis- 
covered the art of midwifery. The reader will 
find a curious sloiy on this subject in Hyginus; 
fab. '■17 \. i^scuiapius was, in time, permitted to 
return from the infernal regions, and advanced to 
divine honours. This fable is given at some length 
bv Mr^il, /£n. vii. ver. 764. Pindar, in his third 


Pythian Ode, strophe 13, speaks of the fate of 

995. Amyrus.] A river of Thessaly, near the 
birth-place of iEsculapius. It is mentioned by 
Val. Flac. lib. ii. v. U. 

1009. The lihone.] Cluverius, in his ancient 
geography, (article Italy, cap. 31-,) may be con- 
sulted respecting the confusion of names incident 
to the Greek writers. Ti)e gross mistake, of say- 
ing the Rhone meets the Po, and flows (it is to 
be supposed jointly with the Po) with one of its 
branches, or arms, to the Adriatic sea, while the 
other disembogues itself into the Sardinian sea, is 
not unlike that wliich the poet had already made 
respecting the Danube, with its two supposed 
branches flowing from the Riphean mountains, 
and meeting the Euxine sea with the one branch, 
the Ionian with the other. Indeed, the whole 
geography, not of our poet alone, but of the whole 
set of Argonautic poets and annalists, is extremely 
wild and erroneous. It is remarkable, that the 
Greek scholiast of Apollonius, who is a very sen- 
sible, and, in general, a well-informed writer, con- 
spires with his author in this gross error; and says, 
' The Rhone, a river belonging to the country of 
the Celtes, mixing his waters with the Eridanus, and 
then dividing, proceeds in two channels to the sea : 
with one, he flows into the Ionian gulf; with the 
other, into the Sardinian sea.' A strange descrip- 
tion this of the Rhone ; which, rising from the 
Alps, not far from the sources of the Rhine and 
Danube, runs by Geneva westward through France, 
and discharges itself by three outlets into the 
Tyrrhenian sea : it traverses the great sheet of 


water, called the lake of Geneva ; and, near the 
walls of that city, unites itself with the Arve. — 
(See Stolbeig's Traveis, vol. i. p. 181.) It is pro- 
hdhle that the first navigators and travelleis were 
both ignorant and faithless : that their acquaint- 
ance with regions, rivers, and mountains^ was but 
imperfect; that the information and notices which 
they received from the people to whom they 
applied, were often fallible, and calculated to mis- 
lead. Their memories, also, might have beer 
treacherous on many occasions, and confounded 
and disguised the names of places and natural 
ohjects, ascribing to one the attributes and de- 
scriptions which belonged to others. Add to this, 
the little acquaintance which those early Greek 
voyagers must be supposed to have had with the 
languages and dialects of the regions taey visited, 
which, of course, augmented tlie difficulty that 
lay in the way of their acquiring knowledge, and 
obtaining accounts from the foreigners on the 
coasts vvhere they touclied. If to these cau^ef 
we join the love of the marvellous so generally 
incident to travellers, we shall find an abundant 
source of the fabulous. T;.us may we account 
for the many geoi;i'aphical errors, inconsistencies, 
and impossibilities, m the first accounts of the 
Argonautic expedition ; the main incidents of 
Which, however, were so fully established and 
defined, by received opinion and tradition at 
the time when Apollonius came to write, that he 
did not think himself (as I have already oljserved) 
at liberty to i:inovate by va-yioi; tiic-.n. >^' sidles, 
it is to be reuiembLrfd, that tiie Arguiantit: 
labours and wanderings had been the favourite. 


118 NOTn5 OK BOOK IV. 

theme of a variety of writers, both in prose and 
song; many of whom were veiy ancient, and gave 
a high degree of credit to the traditions which 
they had handed down. Now it is certain, that 
ApoUonius was a diligent imitator of the writers 
who preceded him, and borrowed from them the 
most if not the whole of his materials. This 
appears from the testimony of his learned scho- 
liast, who was himself a writer of considerable 
antiquity : and this will account for our poet's 
having permitted so many inconsistencies, impro- 
babilities, and errors. To this he submitted, lest 
he should violate the received creed of niytholo» 
gical tradition; and, by running counter to all 
the fabulous history of preceding times, consult 
historical and geographical truth, at the expense 
of poetical probability. It is evident, that the 
poet confounds with the Rhone other rivers of 
Italy; as the Ticinus and the Addua, which irrigate 
Piedmont and Lombardy, and fall into the Po; 
and some of them, as the Atiso, which fall into 
the lake of Garda, pretty near approach the 
Rhone. It is probable that he confounds the 
Arno, which flows by Florence and meets the 
Tuscan sea, with that branch of the Rhone which 
(according to him) passes to the Sardinian sea. 

1021. Spreading lakes.] It seems, that by the 
Atjuvai W%«/xoy£5 in the original, the poet meant 
the lakes of Garda, Lago Maggiore, and Como, 
which fully answer the description of the text ; as 
they are subject to sudden gusts of wind, which 
render their navigation extremely dangerous. See 
the ditFerent travels in Italy which mention theiii. 

H0TE3 ON BOOK IV. 119 

Virgil speaks of these lakes, and the storms which 
agitate them. — Georgic, ii, ver. 159. 

i02ii. Celtic land.] He must mean here the nor- 
thern part of Italy, the Milanese and Piedmont, 
formerly called Cisalpine Gaul ; and the regions of 
the Alps, now the Cispadane territory. 

1024. A simken rock.] Such is the interpretation 
of Rotmar,an ancient translator, who has rendered 
ApoUonius into Latin hexameters. The Oxford 
editor, adopting the version of H»lzlinus, trans- 
lates the word a.-xo^sw^, by brachium, an arm or 
creek of the river; and this sense seems to be 
adopted by Mr. Fawkes, who says : 

' For tbroiigli a creek to ocean's depths convey'd, 
To sure deslruciioa had the hero s;ray'd.' 

Certainly, the original Greek word means either a 
branch of a river, or an abrupt craggy rock. In 
my apprehension, fne latter meaning is more 
agreeable to the context and course of the poet's 

1031. Hercynian mount.] Here again the poet, 
who could not at any rate be expected to have 
had very accurate notions of the northern regions 
of Europe or Asia, (as they were very imperfectly 
known to the ancient Greeks, in general, as is 
observed by IMajor Rennell and other writers,) 
seems to pursue his fanciful system of ideal geo- 
graphy; and to make use of names at random, 
with little attention to reality ; and in this he is 
followed implicitly by his scholiast. He speak* 
of the Hercynian mountain or rock. No such 
mountain is known. The Hercynian wood was 
anciently a very great forest in Germany. It in 


described by Caesar in his Commentaries, B. Gal. 
lib. vi. c. 24. Great part of it hets been cut down 
since the time of Caesar, yet still the greatest 
woods which remain in Germany seem to be parts 
of it. It is now known by the name of the 
Schwartzwalde, or the Black Forest. It will 
readily occur to the reader, that the poet had 
nothing to do with the Hercynian wood, or any 
thing belonging to it, as it was not situated near 
the place where the Argonauts are supposed to 
have encountered this difficulty. 

1042. Natio7is of the Celts.] Blust mean the 
people of the Milanese and Piedmont, where the 
Po and the rivers that join it wander. 

1054. Saving aid.] Horace recognizes the pro- 
tecting power extended to mariners by Castor 
and Pollux, lib. i. ode 3. And again, same book, 
ode 12. But this salutary and kindly influence 
they were supposed to possess then only when 
they appeared conjointly. Thus Pliny writes, lib. 
xi. cap. 37. — Castorum Stellas, cum simul videntur 
salutares crede, cum solitaries graves et noxias esse. 

1057. Ethalia.'] The island of Ilva or Elba, near 
Leghorn, so much celebrated in the last war; 
where those mottled pebbles, such as are mentioned 
by the poet, are yet found. These pebbles, as 
Aristotle observes, are vulgarly supposed to bear 
still the marks of the sweat which dropped from 
the Argonauts. — Lucas Holstenius says, ' M'^hen I 
was obliged, by fear of pirates, about twelve years 
ago, to take refuge in the isle of Elba, and re- 
mained some days at Porto Ferrajo, the chief 
town, I observed with surprise that the stones 
were ail spotted, as if something liquid had fallen 


Oil them in drops.' The fact is, that the island of 
Elba abounds in mines of iron, and the stones 
bear the marks of this quaUty in the soil ; and, 
from the great predominance of ferruginous parti- 
cles, are stained with a sort of ochrous spots. 

1059. JVifh pebbles on the shore.} The passage, 
in the original, is somewhat obscure and ambi- 
guous. It may either mean, that the Argonauts 
made use of those fn^poi, or pebbles, as SAiyytcr- 
fxccrx, or strigils, for the purpose of chafing and 
cleansing their skins, or that, as they rubbed and 
cleansed their skins, the sweat dropped on the 
stones of the shore, 4'H<^t(7»v, and discoloured them. 
If this latter sense should be considered, the follow- 
ing couplet may be substituted in the translation. 

They cleans'd their well-worn sides from briny dew, 
Which, falling, stain'd the beach with kindred hue. 

Aristotle, in his work 11?^* ^xv^jt-aa-iuiv axS(rjuaToy, 
alludes to this circumstance, and thus furnishes an 
argument in favour of the reality and authenticity 
of the Argonautic expedition. He says, that 
among other monuments of the Argonautic expe- 
dition, there are found on the beach, at Elba, 
spotted stones : To fTt tuv ^vPu}V Xsyo/xsvov -ro-a^o. 

Xcc(3nv ccTToluiv a-\iyyKr[JLCx,ruv uv Ixot^vTOaXsitJo/xEyoi. 
The island of Elba is a rock of ferruginous earth, 
the crystallized parts of which represent all the 
colours of the prism. — Denon. 

1067. Ausoniayi deep.] Here taken for the Tyr- 
rhenian sea, or Mare inferum; so called, in opposi- 
tion to the .Adriatic, on the other side of Italy, 


which was called Mare superum. Tlie name 
Ausonia was derived from the Ausones, or Auso- 
nians, who seem to have been aboriginal inhabi- 
tants of the country; and to have lived near 
Circeii, or along the river Siris, in the country 
which was afterwards called the territory of the 
Latins : although, in time, the name of Ausonia 
extended to Campania and all the lower part of 
Italy, and was sometimes employed to denote the 
country in general. — See Heyne, Exc. iv. A. vii. 

1070. Circ^ held hei^ court.] We have the fullest 
description of Circe, and her habitation, in the 
tenth Odyssey of Homer. This beautiful fable 
seems to have struck the imagination of all poets, 
ancient and modern, most forcibly. Our poet, 
who had his mind strongly possessed with the 
romantic accounts which Homer gave of the wan- 
derings of Ulysses, and has endeavoured to emulate 
them in the voyages of his Argonauts, has not 
omitted to embellish his poem with the introduc- 
tion of this celebrated and interesting personage ; 
and has done it both ingeniously and very naturally. 
Horace notices the celebrity of Circe, and her 
enchantments : Sirenum voces, et Circes pocula 
nosti. Virgil, finding his hero on the shores of 
Italy, near the promontory of Circeii, is led to 
pay his respects to the enchantress, en passanfy 
and does it with great taste and beauty. Fid. 
-^neid, lib. vii. ver. 15. The description of Circe, 
her magic, and her enchanted island, have been 
i. itated by Tasso, in his loves of Rinaldo and 
A mida ; by the Cavalier Marino, in his account 
of the gardens where Venus entertained Adonis ; 
and ly Spenser, in his description of the bower 


of bliss, ia the Faery Queen, book ii, can. xii. 

Thetice passiug forili, they shortly do arrive 
Whereat (lie bower of bliss was situate; 
A place pickM out by choice, of best alive^ 
That uatuie's work by art can imitate, &c. 

What is very remarkable, and would lead one to 
suppose that the English bard must have had oar 
Greek poet immediately in his view, is, that he 
lias introduced the story of Jason and Medea, as 
being pourtrayed in sculpture on the ivory gate of 
the bower : ut sup. st. 44. Circe, it seems, was 
the (laughter of Sol and the nymph Persis : she 
poisoned her husband, the king of Scythia, that 
siie might reign alone ; and also several of her 
subjects. For these causes she was expelled from 
the kingdom, and emigrated to Italy ; where she 
resided at a promontory, which from her borrowed 
the name of Circeii. Here she continued to 
exercise her magic and destructive arts ; and 
transformed Picus, king of the Latins, near whose 
territory she resided, into a woodpecker; and 
Scylla, the daughter of Phorcus, into a marine 
monster. The fables, both of the Sirens and 
Circe, which are very properly joined together by 
Horace, have a fine allegorical meaning ; and 
denote the alluring blandishments of pleasure, and 
the inordinate indulgences of sensual appetites; 
which draw men to destruction, or transform and 
degrade them into beasts. 

There appears to be some doubt respecting the 
place of residence of Circe, and whether it was 
an island, or on the main land. Certainly, the 
place which yet bears the name of Circe at tlii» 


day, joins the continent— Virgil, however, makes 
her place ot* residence an i.^land ; and introduces 
Helenas apprizing Eneas, that Eceaque insula 
Circes lustmnda. In this he follows Homer, who 
places Circe in an island. To this Pliny alludes, lib. 
iii. cap 5 and 9 : Circeii insula quondam immenso 
quidem mari circumdata, ut creditur Homero, at 
nunc flanitie. Varro too, as quoted by Servins 
in his comments on the passages of the third and 
seventh ^Eneid where Circe is mentioned, is said 
to have stated, that ' the place called after Circe 
had been formerly an island, before the salt marshes 
were dried up, which divided it from the continent.' 
This is not surprising:, if we consider the ancient 
state of Italy when it was in great part covered 
with wood, before it came to be highly cultivated 
by the Romans ; and if we consider, that even at 
this day there are many lakes in the neighbour- 
hood of the place alluded to which overflow m 
the winter season, and that the Pontine marshes 
take their rise from thence. And therefore it is 
that Strabo, in his fifth book, reckons Circeii 
among the unhealthy places, where pestilential 
morasses were formed by stagnant inundations of 
the sea: To Ks^jcaiov v^icria^ov Irj Sst/Aarl);) ri xai 
IXeo-*. It is a very extraordinary thing, to be sure, 
that the ancients should have conducted Cit ce, the 
sister of Eetes, king of Colchis, a region bordering 
on the Black sea, from iEa, the capital of that 
country, to an island situated on the coast of 
Italy ! We can only account for it, from the pro- 
found ianorance of the ancient Greeks as to geo- 
graphical subjects. Before the time of the Trojan . 
war, the boundaries of tlie western regions^ and 


tlie face of the country in that quarter, were alto- 
gether unknown to tiiem. Before the time of 
Homer, they had only lieard of this part of the 
world by wild and fabulous stories. Behind Sicily 
they imagined that a vast ocean was drawn around, 
and extended without interruption even to the 
north pole. The fable was very ancient respect- 
ing Circe, the daughter of the sun, and of her 
being visited by the Argonauts; who, whether 
they were asserted to have been conveyed on tlie 
Tanais or the Ister, were still believed to have 
returned home by that fabnlous northern sea 
invented in remote antiquity. In process of time 
this part of the globe, so little known to the 
Greeks, began to be visited by their ships ; and 
thus they gradually acquired a more certain and 
genuine knowledge respecting Italy, Gaul, and 
Spain. Circeii was a situation very proper for 
this enchantress, who was supposed to deal in 
poisons, and know the power of herbs ; for Strabo 
observes of it, that it abounded in plants and 
herbs : — (J)acri ^i xai iEr&;.i/^§i^ov hvca. Mount 
Circeum is said to abound in deadly poisons, and 
Theophrastus, in his History of Plants, (lib. v. 
c. 9.) says, that the promontory of Circeum was 
thickly covered with trees, and especially with 
myrtles ; of which a certain low species, that was 
in much request for making crowns or wreaths, 
sprung on the tomb of Eipcnor, one of the com- 
panions of Ulysses. (See the first essay of Pro- 
fessor Heyne on the seventh /Eneid.) The fable 
of Circe seems to have been derived by Homer 
from some older poet, who meant to describe the 
allurements of pleasure by the way of apologue. 


The names are obviously of Greek invention. yEa 
is the Greek name of the earth ; jEetes is the 
progeny of the earth; her parents are the god of 
day and a nymph of ocean. 

1073. In visions of the night.} The judicious 
introduction of visions often has a fine effect, and 
may be rendered one of the most powerful and 
affecting pieces of machinery in poetry. Visions 
prepare the reader to expect certain incidents, 
and a particular mode of speaking and acting. 
If the conduct and sentiments of the actors and 
speakers should be rather incredible and extraor- 
dinary, tiie introduction of a vision serves to 
reconcile the mind to it, and to render it more 
probable ; as including in it something of over- 
ruling influence and supernatural agency. This 
machinery also gives an opportunity of introducing 
a variety of wild and picturesque imagery, by the 
way of episodical ornament. — ApoUonius, who is 
certainly in many respects a very judicious and 
scientific poet, has made an artful use of this 
engine. In a former part of this poem, a melan- 
choly vision has a powerful effect on the mind of 
Medea ; and the present dream is well imagined, 
to fill the breast of Circe with alarm, and send her, 
in consequence, with her attendants, to the shore 
to meet the Argonauts. 

1085. With pious rites, Sfc] The custom of 
performing ablutions to avert evil, after frightful 
and ill-omened dreams, prevailed very generally 
among the ancients. Thus, Silius Ital. lib. viii. 
and Aristophanes Ranoe, 1579 : 


Qs^lxsTt i' vluif 

'SI; av Sftov ivftfov airoxXus-u;. — 
lui tjovTH Sa.tfxoy, 

1098. Herfivst rude work.'] So Milton, Paradise 

' The grassy clods now calved.' 

The description in the original is very fanciful and 

1118. The vestal hearth.'] The behaviour of 
Ulysses was similar on his arrival at the palace of 
Alcinoiis. He took his station at the hearth : 

'E^fT' l<jyn~yi iv xovi^j^t 

Ha: TTL/ji, s» ^' aid •oTavTf; ax^v l/r^avTO ciu;?:*]. 

So, when Coriolanus took refuge in the house of 
Tulhis Aufidius, the Volscian chief, he seated him- 
self on the hearth, as a suppliant. The rights of 
suppliants, as well as the laws of hospitality, were 
most religiously observed among the ancients : the 
suppliant was peculiarly under tlie protection of 
Jupiter, who thence obtained the appellation of 
'ix.-na-i'^, the god of suppliants. Jupiter was 
also worshipped under the title of (^v^i'^, or the 
god who protected fugitives. Those who had the 
misfortune to commit homicide were permitted 
to save themselves by flight; and enabled, by 
certain religious rites and oblations, to expiate 
the guilt they had incurred. The same spirit is 
recognised in the Jewish law, which made a pro- 
vision for the slayer who killed his neighbour igno- 
rantly, and not of malice prepense j and appointed 
three cities of refuge, to which he might flee, 
' lest the avenger of blood (the kindred of the 


deceased) might pursue him while his heart was 
hot.' — See the nineteenth chapter of Deutero- 

11 Jl. Stung tvith reproaches.] The pensive and 
contrite demeanour of Jason and Medea is finely 
imagined, and truly natural. Apollonius was not 
one of those indiscreet poets who delighted, like 
the German playwrights, in depicting objects 
that outrage nature, ' monsters redeemed by no 

1133. The atoning sacrifices.] The passage which 
succeeds in the original, is one of those which 
very nuich vex and annoy translators. The minute 
descriptions of ancient manners and religious 
ceremonies cannot easily be transferred from a 
dead to a living language, and yet they are often 
the most curious parts of ancient classics. In the 
passage before us, for instance, it is not easy to 
tell in smooth verse, and without falhng into the 
low and mean, that Circe offered up a sucking 
pig, (which was the victim used in these rites of 
atonement and purification,) and that she washed 
the hands of the suppliants in its blood. 

llu2. Listen d.] Circe was anxious to hear 
Medea speak , as, at first glance, s!ie had suspected 
that she mi^lit be her kinswoman, from ol)serving 
in her eyes that peculiar fire and lustre, which dis- 
tinauisiied the descendants of the god of day. 

1174. Some events, &fc.~\ There is great delicacy, 
and a feminine atttntion to decorum, in Medea's 
saying that she fied from the wrath of her father 
with her cousins, the sons of Phryxus, instead of 
owning that she fled with Jason. Her reserve and 
caution on this occasion, and her desire to pass 


over in silence the death of her brother, are very 
beautiful and natural. Medea, though terocious, 
artful, and a slave to her unruly passions, is not 
devoid of virtuous feelings ; in particular, she 
shows a strong sense of feminine delicacy, a regard 
to character, and a wish to preserve decent appear- 
ances. Thus the poet judiciously forbears to out- 
step the modesty of nature, by an unquahfied 
exhibition of depravity. 

1176. In vain.] The behaviour of Circe is very 
noble, and finely marked. Her superior penetra- 
tion, reading the guilt and weakness of Medea 
through her attempts at concealment, and this 
mixed with compassion for her sex ; the superior 
dignity of Circe: all these form an admirable con- 
trast to the conscious guilt and humiliation of 

1185. Ties of kindred.] Circe was the daughter 
of the sun, and sister of Eetes, according to our 

1190. Hence with that partner, ^c] There is 
much dignity and propriety in the whole conduct 
of Circe on this embarrassing occasion. She felt 
for the affliction of ^etes, and saw the criminality 
of iVIedea in all its deformity ; but she could not 
think of violating the sacred laws of hospitality, 
or the rights of suppliants; neither could she forget 
that the unhappy Medea was also her relation. 

Ii08. For Juno sought to learn, Sfc] Juno was 
anxious to know the precise time when the \rgo- 
nauti; should renew their voyage, that she might 
exert herself to protect them, and facilitate their 

11^17. yulcans forces.] Agalhocle?*, in his record© 

130 NOTES ON BOOK ir. 

or memorials respecting the forges of Vulcan, 
relates that there are two islands on the coast of 
Sicily; one of which is called Hiera, the other 
Strongyle, which day and night emit flames. One of 
these islands is called Lipara, according to others. 
The same writer again, in his seventh book, says, 
* There are islands on the coast of Sicily ; two of 
them are volcanic : — the one is called the island 
of Eolus, the other of Vulcan. In which latter 
there is said to spring a river of fire.' — Gr. Scho. 

1218. Deafening hammers sound.'] These islands 
are also called the Eolian islands, on account of 
the intimate and natural connection between air 
and flame. The Greek scholiast says, that the 
peculiar residence of Vulcan is in Lipari and 
Strongyle, (these are two of the islands of Eolus) 
on which account a violent noise and crackling of 
fire was heard in them. It was an ancient tradition, 
that any person who chose, might bring unwrought 
iron and leave it on the shore of these islands, 
together with money, as the price of manufac- 
turing it; and that, if he came the next day, he 
was sure to find in the place of it a sword, or 
whatever other thing he wished to have forged for 
him, Pytheas relates the same story in his, ' Cir- 
cuit of the Earth,' and adds, that the sea all around 
those islands is on fire. 

1223. Progeny of air.] This is strictly and philo- 
sophically just ; because the winds are produced 
by currents of air, or rather are currents of air. 

1230. The nymph.'] Virgil evidently had this 
machinery of our poet in view in the first iEneid. 
But he has improved very much on his original, 
by resorting to other sources, and combining an 


imitation from Homer, lib. i. ver. 51. Again, 
/Eneitl, lib. v. ver. 606 : 

Trim de ccelo misit Satiirnia Juno 

lliacam ad classetn ventosquc aspirat eunti, 

1241. Stormy winds.'] Homer speaks of Eolui 
in the same manner with our poet and Virgil : 

Kec/oy yatf Ta^>iy avf/^xv uKUfiTt Kfavttuv, 

Baron Stolberg, in his travels, gives the following 
account of the Eolian or Lipari islands, vol. ii. p. 
518 : * As these islands, which rise out of the sea 
like mountains with their steep shores, are seen to 
a great distance, and as you turn towards them, 
(like the wandering rocks of Homer, in face of 
Scylla,) always appear to have a different situa- 
tion ; the great poet, profiting by these circum- 
stances, called the island of Eolus the swimming 
island. Lipari, like its companions, is high ; and, 
like theirs, the declivity of the shores have the 
colour of iron; at least, when seen, as they were 
by us, at a distance. The island of Lipari was 
formerly volcanic. The following is the account 
which Uiodorus gives of it: 

' The wind bursts forth with great rushing and 
noise from the caverns of Strongyle, (Stromboli) 
of Hiera Hephapsta, consecrated to Vulcan, and 
now called the volcano. Tiny cast out sand and 
hot stones, so that some believe that they have a 
subterranean passage, and are connected with 
iHtna, and that they mutually vomit fire. 

* Liparus, son of the Italian king, Auson, driven 
away by his brother, first peopled and cultivated 
t!ie Eolian islands; and after him, Lipara (Lipari) 


took its name. yEolns, the son of Hippotas, came 
there, and married Cyane, the daughter of Liparus. 
He was king of Lipara, and aided his wife's 
father, who sighed after Italy, to conquer Sorento. 
Ulysses visited this yEolus, who was an upright 
man, and was called the friend of the gods. The 
invention of sails is ascribed to him. By observe 
ing the tokens which the fire afforded, (the ascend- 
ing smoke, that appeared fiery by night,) l)e could 
prognosticate concerning the winds to the inhabit- 
ants; from which the fable arose, that he was lord 
4of the winds. iEolus had six sons, one of whom 
reigned in the country of Rliegium : the five 
others in .Sicily. The fame of their fither, and 
their own mild and just behaviour, induced the 
Sicani and the Siculi, who had always before 
been at variance, to obey them. The family 
reigned long till it was extinct; and the Siculi 
afterwards selected their own princes. The 
Sicana waged civil wars.' 

The fiction that ^olus ruled the winds, and the 
account of his being able to foretel the change of 
the wind by the prognostics of fire, on which this 
fiction is founded, were occasioned by the oppor- 
tunities he had of observing the wind, wliich 
clianiies sooner in high regions than in the low ; 
and mariners, to this day, predict the change of 
the wind from the smoke that rises out of the vol- 
canic islands, and from the vapours that ascend 
from the others. 

Rucellai has given a fine description of the 
Cyclops, in his beautiful and classical poem, * Le 


Come ne la fucina i gran Cijclopi, 
Che /anno le suette hcrrende, S;c. 

1554. Wander ins; isles.] The rocky islands, 
named the Cyanean, were also called IlXayxTat, 
or ' erratic,' by the Greeks. Dionysius Periegetes 
speaks of tliose wandering rocks : 

Ex ^£ Tot Qty3,'^.fy©j ■jjctociTiiirlala iyy-j^i arovT©^. 

See Heinsius on Ovid, Metam, lib. vii. ver. 162. 

1260. Scylla.'] So Virgil, iEneid, lib. iii. ver. 

1264. Thy proud virtue.] This was not alto- 
getlier the case, according to ancient mythology. 
It was rather the prudence of Jove himself, than 
the reserve of Thetis, that prevented the progress 
of this amour. It had been foretold, that if 
Jupiter should proceed to gratify his passion for 
Thetis, the offspring would be a son who should 
dethrone him, as he had dethroned his father 
Saturn. Ovid, in his Metam. lib. xi. ver. 221, 
ascribes this prophetic warning to Proteus. 

1276. Themis.] She was one of the daughters 
of Uranus and Terra, the sisters of the Titans, 
who were called Titanides. The names of the 
other sisters were Tethys, Rhea, Mnemosyne, 
Phoebe, Dione, Thea. — See Apollodorus, Ath. lib. 
i. c. 2, where he speaks of the birth of Pallas ; 
and see note on this subject, on book iii. near the 

1233. First of mortals.] Peleus. Aristophanes 
speaks of the temperance of Peleus in his comedy 
of the Clouds. Peleus, on this account, (his pru- 



dence and teniperaiice) received the sword.' — 
There is ;i noble poem of Catullus on the nuptials 
of Peleus and Thetis. 

1287. Siistaiii'd the nuptial light.] That is to 
say, I acted as your mother, on the occasion of 
your marriaiie ceremony, in sustaining the nuptial 
torch. For it was the office of the mothers of 
the brides to bear these torches. This custom is 
mentioned by Euripides in his Phoenissae : 

Eytc d£ tin a-rA nt-j^^ ain^ci, ^wf vo[j.ijj.ov 
Ev yafj.oig w; TXT^iTtn jU-jit^j |w.axi!o»'i. 

* I did not light the flame of a legitimate fire, for 
thy nuptials, as suits a happy motlier.' Juno 
dwells on her performing this office, to show her 
particular regard and tenderness towards Thetis, 
and to engage that goddess to a return of gratitude. 
Juno, at any rate, was the goddess who peculiarly 
presided over marriage rites, whence she was called 

* Pronuha Juno.' 

1 294. Naiads-I He means Chaviclo and Philyra, 
by whom Achilles was nursed in the cave of Chiron. 
The former was the mother, the latter the wife of 
the centaur. — Gr. Scho. 

1^96, Doom'd to wed.'] Anaxagoras says, that, in 
reality, all these fables respecting Achilles were 
invented by the people of Sparta, to do honour to 
that hero. Some relate, that the gods, sympathiz- 
ing with his mother Thetis, raised Achilles to 
immortality. Ibycus was the first who related 
that Achilles, arriving at the Elysian fields,married 
Medea. In this fable he has been followed by 
Simonides, (vide Gr. Scho.) and many others of 
the ancient mythologists. 


1598. And Peleus too.] Tliere is something dra-- 
luatic here. The author of the Egimius, iu his 
second book, says, that Thetis, being desirous to 
know wliether her sons by Peleus were mortal or 
immortal, threw some of them into cahlrons of 
boihng water, and others into the fire ; and t!iat 
many of tliem being destroyed in this manner, 
Peleus became enraged, and prevented Achilles 
from being plunged in the fatal caldron. Sopho- 
cles, iu liis play called ' The Lovers of Achilles,' 
says, that Thetis, being bitterly reproached by 
Peleus, deserted him. Staphylus, in his third 
book respecting Thessaly, relates, that Chiron, 
being a person of great wisdom, and skilful in 
astronomy, was desirous of rendering Peleus very 
illustrious and famous ; for which purpose he sent 
for the daughter of Actor the myrmidon, and 
caused reports to be generally circulated, that 
Peleus was about to intermarry with Thetis, the 
marine goddess, under the sanction of Jupiter, 
who was to bestow her on a bride, and 
that the gods would come, with rain and storrr;, 
to the nuptials. Having spread these reports, he 
watched the time when he knew by certain prog- 
nostics there would be a vast deal of wind, and 
fixed the solemnization of the nuptials for this 
period ; and Peleus having espoused Philomela, 
the daughter of Actor, the fame of his being 
married to Tlietis became general. — Gr. Scho. 

1315. Charijbdis and Scylla.] The rocks op- 
posed to each other in the narrow and dangerous 
strait between Italy and Sicily, called the Faro 
©f Messina. Scylla was on the side of Italy ; 


Charybdis on that of Sicily, adjoining Cape Pe- 
lorus. The Greek schohast says, that the fable 
of Scylla arose from the circumstances of the 
promontoiy of Scylla, when viewed at a distance, 
having some imaginary resemblance to a woman's 
head ; and there being a number of vast and 
terrible rocks beneath that were full of hollow 
places and deep caverns, the resorts of monsters 
of the sea. The vessels which, endeavouring to 
avoid the rucks of Scylla, approached too near 
the whirlpool of Charybdis, w ere sucked in by it, 
and swallowed up ; and those which strove to 
avoid the dangers of Charybdis, being driven on 
the rocks of Scylla, were dashed to pieces and 
destroyed. When the vessels were wrecked, the 
dogs of the sea, and other destructive moDsters, 
ased to issue from their retreats, and devour the 
unfortunate mariners. It seems that Scylla, ac- 
cording to the descriptions of the poets, had dogs 
with ravening mouths projecting from her sides 
and breast, which used to seize on the sailors who 
approached her ; a fable which originated in the 
circumstance of the seals, and other monsters of 
the deep, emerging from the recesses beneath the 
promontory. Acusilaus relates that Scylla was 
the daughter of Phorcus and Hecate. Homer 
says, that the mother of Scylla was named Cra- 
tais. — Odyss. X: Tov o(,'7Vi'r^i\cc(7y.i K^oClvAq. Apol- 
lonius seems to follow their accounts, and recon- 
cile them by adding, that Hecate was named 
Cratais. The author of the ' MsyaXat ioa^' says, 
that Scylla was the daughter of Phorbas and 
Hecate. Stesichorus, in Iris Scylla, says that she 


was tlie daughter of Lamia. Thus far the Greek 
scholiast.) Milton, Paradise Lost, book ii. ver. 
659, alludes to these descriptions : 

' Far less abhorr'd than these 

VexM Scylla, bathing in the sea ihnt parts 
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacriaii shore.' 

Homer, in his Odyssey, book xii. ver. 73 — 97, 
irives the description of Scylla. It is th'.is trans- 
lated by Pope: 

' High in the air the rock its summit shrouds 
In brooding tempests and in rolling clouds j 
Loud storms around, and mists eternal rise, 
Beat its bleak brow, and intercept the skies. 
When all the broad expansion, bright with day, 
Glows with the' autumnal or the summer ray; 
The summer and the autumn glow in vain ; 
The sky for ever lours, for ever clouds remain. 
Impervious to the step of man it stands, 
Tboagh borne by twenty feet, though aim'd with twenty 
hands,' &c. 

The poet, desirous of creating a bold fable out of 
these rocks, was obliged to give them a terrific 
form. That figurative sense which he has so fre- 
quently employed, and which so few of his com- 
mentators have understood, he employs here, 
that he may envelope his object in clouds. This 
rock, in reality, is not so high as to be covered 
with clouds on a clear day ; but its form is strik- 
ing, and inspires terror : at present the rock is not 
pointed, for a castle has been built upon it : but, 
even now, had a man twenty hands and twenty 
feet, as Homer says, he would not be able to 
climb it. It rises like a round tower ; the breadth 


of which, compared to its lieight, may justify tlie 
epithet deformed ; and, towards the sea, it presents 
a sharp three-forked clitf. In this cliff we find 
the three row s of teeth of Homer. The neigh- 
bouring cliffs too presented themselves to the 
creative fancy of the poet. The fiction of the 
sea-dog, the dolphin, and the still more huge mon- 
sters which she makes her prey, is founded on an 
admirable knowledge of the nature of the sea ; for 
it abounds in dolphins,and a large kind offish which 
the Italians call cane del mare. It even occasionally 
happens that a kind of whale, of the species the 
French call cachelot, is stranded on those shores. 

There have been frequent contests concerning 
Charybdis, which, as described by Homer, is no 
longer to be found. He could not mean the 
lower rocks ; for his description has placed 
Charybdis opposite to Scylla. These countries, 
ever subject to the grand phenomena of nature, 
may have suffered great changes from earth- 
quakes. Is not even the opinion of several 
ancient and modem philosophers probable, which 
maintains that Sicily was anciently separated 
from Italy by an earthquake? It was tlie sup- 
position of Cluverius, that, according to the rela- 
tion of Homer, which placed Charybdis opposite 
to Scylla, it must have been at the promontory 
of Pelorus, now called Capo di Faro : but as he 
could not find it there, he supposed the whirl- 
pool, which is opposite the light-house of Mes- 
sina, to be the true Charjbdis, and accuses Homer 
of an error. But how came he not to find the 
real whirlpool of Homer, which is known to 
every fisherman of Scylla, of Capo di Faro, and 


Mrst^ina, and forms itself between Capo di Faro 
aiul Scylla? The ciinent runs iVom the north-ea^t, 
to tlie straits of Faro. There is a regular ebb 
and flow of the tide every six hours ; and when a 
strong wind sets in to oppose either ti.e ebb or 
the flow, a whirlpool still rises before the pro- 

This ebb and flow has been ascribed by some to 
a subterraneous passage, said to exist between 
Mount iEtna and the sea. By Aristotle it is 
ascribed, like otiier ebbs and flows, to the in- 
fluence of the moon; and this opinion is con- 
firmed by the regularity of th.e six-hour tide. It 
is certain_, that, in the time of Homer, the tides, 
which were common to but few places of the 
Mediterranean, were very imperfectly understood. 
He therefore says, that three times a day Cha- 
rybdis en2;ulfed the waters, and three times a day 
vomited them up aj^ain. 

The navigator of a small packet-boat, if unac- 
quainted with these seas, might probably meet 
with the misfortune against which Circe cautions 
Ulysses, when she warns him, while avoiding 
Scylla and her projecting cliffs, ' Not to approach 
the whirlpool of Charybdis.' Earthquak'^s, or 
.some other natural cause, have now operated a 
material change ; and this strait is by no means so 
formidable to mariners as in ancient times ; even 
men of war may now pass through it. 

155!*). And raging Jircs.'} The subterranean fires 
boiled up from the depths near this dangerous pass 
of Scylla and Charybilis, so that tlie sea was 
heated by them ; as Metrodorus says in his first 
book concerning history. Theophrastus, in his 

1 10 NOTES ON 1500K IV. 

historical monuments, says, the crackling and 
noise of flames are heard from the Eolian islands 
to the distance of a thousand stadia ; and that a 
somid, resembling thunder, is heard from them, in 
the neighbourhood of Tauroniiuium. — Gr. Scho. 

1.368. But beware.] This injunction was given 
to her husband by Thetis from a motive of re- 
serve and delicacy. It was natural for her to 
think, that a principle of vanity might dispose 
Peleus to point her out to his companions among 
the Nereids ; a circumstance which would be 
highly offensive to her feelings, as she knew tiiey 
were all to appear naked. 

1382. O'er flaming- lamps, ^-c] The reader will 
find a fabie resembling this in the Persian tales : 
where a prince is married to a beautiful and 
accomplished princess of the race of the Genii. 
One of their children is thrown into a great fire, 
and immediately disappears : another is, imme- 
diately afier its birth, given to a great bitch, who 
carries it off in her mouth. The husband, like. 
Peleus, breaks out into an agony of passion. 
This produces a separation fiom his wife, and a 
seiies of misfortunes to the prince. The princess, 
however, is induced, in process of time, to relent, 
and return to her husband, with their children 
now full grown, and completely adorned with 
beauty and accomplishments ; and it then appears, 
that she had taken the method above mentioned 
of sending away these children, that they might 
be educated among the Genii. This fable is also 
applied to Ceres, wlien she undertook to bring 
up Triptolemus; in order to render hini immor- 
tal^ she fed him all day with celestial food, and 


covered bim at night with burning embers. His 
father, Elusinus, observing this, expressed his 
fears and anxiety for his child. The goddess, in 
displeasure, struck tlie father dead ; but conferred 
immortality on Triptolemus. 

1111. They soon a fair and florid.'] I have fol- 
lowed the Oxford editor in his translation of the 
Greek word av^Ejuc-cra-av, in the text, which he 
renders floridam. But the Greek scholiast seems 
to make tliis word the proper name of the island. 
For he says, ' The poet has followed Hesiod, in 
calling this island of the Sirens by the name of 
Anthemoessa' — l^na-ov Etj avScjuoHao-av iva c-^io-i 

1412. Sirens.l Stolberg, vol. ii. p. 104, says, 
' It was generally believed among the ancients, 
that Surrentum, now Sorento, derived its name 
from the Syrens. I cannot conceive how the 
naked rocks that project from the promontory of 
Massa, or those smaller clins tliat face Sorento, 
could iiave been supposed the island of the melo- 
dious Syrens; but he likewise tells us, they sang 
in flowery meadows. That the charming island 
of Homer lay between the promontory of Circe 
and the gulfs of Sicily is certain ; but I should 
rather seek it in the vicinity of these gulfs. We 
find, that after Ulysses and his companions had 
passed the island, they heard the thunder, and 
saw the smoking billows of Scylla : 

' N'ow all at once tremendous scenes unfuld, 
lliiindei'd the deeps, the smoking billows loll'd.' 

Pope, Odyss. Book xii. ver. C40. 


^ The cliffs situated on tlie bay of Salerno, on the 
further side of the cape of Sorento, called ' Le 
Galle,' are commonly supposed to be the island of 
tiie Sirens. Mount Erix overlooked Drepaniis, 
celebrated for a temple of Venus. This city was 
much renowned for the beauty of its female inha- 
bitants: hence perhaps the fable of th'j Sirens; 
and the truth of Butes being allured by the Sirens 
might be, that, attracted by the beauty of the 
women, he remained behind the Argonauts.' 

The city, formerly Lilybeum, is now called 
Marsala. The Butes mentioned in the text is 
said to have had a son by Venus, wiio was named 
Eryx, and from whom the mountain of that name 
was called. In reality, Eryx was the son of 
Bntes, and Lycaste, a famous courtesan, who for 
her beauty was denominated Venus. 

The names of the Sirens were, Thelxinoe, or 
Theixiope, Molpe, and Aglaophonos. The fable 
of the Sirens is variously moralized. Plato sup- 
poses them to have been the goddesses of har- 
mony, who tuned the spheres ; a beautiful and 
poetical notion, which has been adopted by 
Milton : 

Then listen T 

To the celeslini Syrens' harmony, 
That sit upon ibe nine intV.lried spheres, 
And sing to those that hold the vital shears, 
And turn the adamantine spindle round, «&c. 

Pausanias will have it, that they were the god- 
desses of eloquence and persuasion in all their 
branches. Others suppose, that by the Sirens 
are meant the allurements of sensual pleasure ; 


ami that their number is fixed at three, with a 
rtterence to the three grosser senses, of snieihng, 
tasting, and feeling. Certainly this is one of the 
most agreeable fables in Greek mythology ; and 
one which has made a greater impression on the 
imaginati(3n, and furnished more learned allusion, 
and matter of more poetical embellisimients, than 
perhaps any other. The reader will find some 
similitude to it in the fictions and traditions of the 
beautiful and animated poetiy of tl.e east. Spen- 
ser has availed himself of the fables re>pecting 
the Sirens in his fine description of the mermaids, 
that sing to tempt Sir Guyon ; book ii. canto xii. 
stanzas 30 — 33. Among otliers, whom Ceres sent 
in quest of Proserpine, were the Sirens. On 
wliich occasion she gave them wings. It is ob- 
servable, that Spenser meant to refine on the 
ancient mythology, in making his mermaids five 
in number, evidently in correspondence with the 
whole number of the senses. Tiiough I doubt 
whether the ancients were wrong in omitting 
sight and hearing, as being productive of plea- 
sures more spiritual and less degrading than the 
other three, from the number of their Sirens. 
The passage of Spenser to which I allude, is not 
inferior to any in that exquisite poet. Orpheus, 
in liis Argonautics, gives us the substance of the 
song, with which, he says, he overpowered the 
seductive strain ot the Sirens. 

1 436. He swept with mastery.] Tlie line in the 
original, which expresses this idea, is a most 
happy instance of the sound echoing to the sense, 
and shows the consummate skill of our poet ia 
versification. It is verse 907 of the original : 


All the feet in this verse but the last are dactyls, 
and the words are all such as accord with the sense. 
They express the sonorous crash of a bold and 
hurried descant ; the energetic and rapid numbers 
of the masculine strains, which the bard of Thrace 
employed to counteract and overpower the seduc- 
ing songs of the Sirens. On the contrary, the 
preceding lines, which describe the songs of the 
Sirens, are not less expressive of languor and 
seductive softness. The word K^Ey/xw, used by 
the poet, is particularly expressive of the strong 
and energetic manner in which Orpheus played, 
or rather smote the lyre. 

1450. Queen of love.'] Venns protected Butes 
in a double right ; both as having some influence 
over the sea, from whence she sprung, and as 
considering Butes, who was the victim of soft 
indulgence, as a pecuhar object of her favour. 
Another similar fable has sprung from this ; it is 
related by Diodorus, in his fourth book, con- 
cerning Eryx, the son of Butes, who became the 
husband of Venus. Eryx is the name of a moun- 
tain between Drepanum and Panormus. 

1 15.S. Lilybeum j^ears.] Dionysius Periegetes 
(De Situ Orb.) speaks of the three promontories 
of Sicily. 

1463. The flame of Vulcan.] See the note on a 
preceding line. Pindar, CaUiniachus, and Virgil, 
;in liis third iEneid) seem to have vied with each 


Oilier, in sublime and magnificent descriptions of 
the eruption of volcanic fires, and the labours of 
Vulcan and the Cyclops at their forges. The 
verses of Callimachus, describing the roaring of 
the flames and the noise of the hammers of the 
gigantic workmen, are a noble instance of the 
power of versification, in making the sound an 
echo to the sense. See Hymn to Delos ; and 
Pindar's first Pythian Ode, decade 5. 

Stolberg says, vol. i. p. '156 : ' The promon- 
tory of Circe, now called Monte Circello, has 
likewise been called by the inhabitants Monte 
Felice. And even those to whom the name of 
Circe is as little known as the name of the poet, 
who rendered the enchantress imm.ortal, have yet 
their narratives to detail concen-ing the great 
sorceress who once inhabited this mountain. 
' Near this,' he says, ' he observed, that suddenly 
a Will of the Wisp rose over a marsh, which the 
traveller concluded to be the beginning of the 
Pontine marsh. I had never seen one,' says he, 
'so bright before; it frequently rose very high, 
danced to a great distance, and always returned 
back to its former place. Appearances of this 
kind must have impressed the minds of the rude 
and ignorant with awe, and disposed them to 
suppose the neighbouring regions the haunts of 
sorcery, and the residence of spirits and demons.' 
Stolberg's Travels, vol. ii. p. 197 : ' The rock 
of Homer has a fantastic and terrifying form. 
We took boat, and went to it; as soon as we 
arrived, let us hear the description of the great 
poet, and wonder with how much penetration he 


observed, and how much there was of reality in his 
daring imagery. 

* Circe warned Ulysses against the PlanetiP, 
the erratic or wandering rocks. Immediately in 
the front of the rock of Scyila craggy cliffs ad- 
vance out of the sea, against which the foaming 
waves more or less continually dash. The eye is 
deceived, or might be induced to ascribe the 
motion of the sea to the cliffs. A similar accident 
happens in the Baltic, where people, as I have 
often experienced, mistake the stones, which the 
sea now washes, and now leaves bare, for svvi;T>- 
ming sea-dogs. Homer may have made the 
voyage on board a Phtenician or Grecian vessel ; 
or lather, no doubt, a Phaenician; and still it is 
probable, that the mariners of his age were 
ignorant enough of these coasts, actually to 
imagine that the cliffs floated. Pliny himself, that 
great naturalist, believed that the rocky islands of 
the Lago di Balsena floated.' 

1468. Around the vessel now, Sfcl Virgi! has 
imitated this passage in the first ^Eneid : in the 
passage which describes the sea nymphs extri- 
cating the Trojan vessels fiom the rocks as^d 
Syrtes. Camoens was so particularly struck with 
this passage, that he has imitated it in his second 
and fifth books. 

1500. Their labours Vulcan, ^x,] This is beau- 
tifully and fancifully imagined. I cannot forbear 
remarking here, what I have already frequently 
observed, the graphic talent of ApoUonius. What 
a fine subject for painting is here furnished I the 
whole sea animated; the Nereids swimming in 
different groups and various attitudes, supporting 


tlie ship over the rocks. Vulcan propped on ti;e 
handle of his hammer, and looking forward to 
view their labour from the top of a high promon- 
toiy. Juno gazing down from heaven, and, in a 
transport of solicitude and fear for the safety o 
the vessel, tlirovving her arms round Minerva. 
This preceding passage of Apollouius is imitated 
by Camoens, book ii. 

160'-. Such was the delay.] There seems to lie 
some doubt what was the portion of time intended 
by the poet in this passage. The generally received 
interpretation is, that he meant the half of the 
artificial day, Ny;)^S»)jUE^a, or the space of a vernal 
day, twelve hours. On the one Imnd, it may be 
objected that the poet gives but a despicable idea 
of the energy and exertions of the goddess and 
the nymphs, in supposing that they consumed so 
much time in extricating the vessel from its dan- 
gerous situation ; on tiie other side it may be re- 
plied, that Apollcnius vvislied to impress on his 
leaders the arduous nature of the task. How- 
ever, the passage will bear the meaning of a 
space of three hours, one fourth part of a vernal 
day : or perhaps even of one hour out of twelve, 
of which the vernal day consist.*, when days and 
nights are equal. This version is confirmed by 
resorting to the subsequent line l.ilo, is 
said, the Argonauts Saile<l past the pastures of 
the sun in the course of the day ; which seems to 
intimatf, that the residue of the day was thus 
employed. (Ha^lzUnus). The Oxford editor con- 
jectures, that r)ij.oe,-i^ akTO. may mean the day 
Itself, or the very day. i.e. the whole day ; as in the 
Odyssey t. Ci, lA7r*^(^ «i(7« signifies spes qisa. 


* hope itself.' This, however, seems to he a forced 

1522. Of the flocks and herds of the sun.] Some 
later writers have placed these flocks and herds 
of the sun at Mylae, on the western, i^hore, on 
account of the extraordinary fertility of the lands 
there.— (Vide Cluver. Sicil! 115. p. 307.) The 
ongin of the name Trinacia, or Thrinacia, is 
doubtful ; that of Trinacria is later. Some have 
sought for Thrinacia in Ortygia, as Martorellus : 
Ifenici I primi ahitatori di Napoli. Rather ac- 
cording to the guidance of fancy than reality. 
Respecting the flocks and herds of the sun, there 
was an ancient and very elegant fable or alle- 
gory, prior even to the time of Homer, con- 
cerning the lunar year consisting of S50 days-, 
which some mythologist had ingeniously feigned 
to be fed as the flocks and herds of the sun. 
Their generation was said never to fail, but to be 
everlastingly renewed. Their colour was pure 
white, and their horns of gold, in allusion to the 
brightness of the sun. Nymphs, the daughters of 
the sun, were assigned to them as their guardians ; 
and the station where they were fed was assigned 
to them in some sea, at that time little known, 
and very far to the west ; by which was meant 
Sicily, then called Thrinacia, Trinacia, and after 
Trinaciia. The first idea of this beautiful fiction 
might have been suggested by the numerous con- 
secrated flocks and herds which were fed in many 
places, and dedicated to the indigenous and tute- 
lary deities of the soil — See Heyne not. in 
ApoUod. 214. 

1523. A silver crook.] The word in the original, 


vaiov, si2;nifies a staff curved at one end, wliicii 
sbeplierds use. CalUmacUus says : 

no<jW.£Vixov nrO.njJM xat *v ^(^jst •j^aiov iy^ca. — Gr. Scho. 

15'i;4. Sftiniwo- 6^a-ss.] In the orij^inal o;ic/m/co5(?. 
Horace takes notice of this metaliic substance, 
Txh'ia non ut nunc Orchaku riucta. Tlie Greek 
scholiast says, this vas a species of hra«s which 
took its name from a certain man named Orius, 
the son of Euretus. Aristotle, in his T-Xerxi, 
denies both the etymolojry of the name and the 
existence of the thinsj. Others say, that this is a 
rasli and hasty assertion, and that there is really a 
metal so called. Stesichorus and Bacchilides 
mention it; and Aristophanes, the grammarian, 
takes notice of it. Some, as Socrates and Tliec- 
ponipus, (in his twenty-fifth book) say, that Ori- 
chalcus was the name of a statuary, — See Gr. 
Scho. on ver. 973. 

1534. Beyond the Ionian hay.'] By the 'Ero^'Su©^ 
ioyt(^, in tiiis place, the pnet means tlie entrmce 
into the Adriatic gulf, before which the isimd of 
Corfu lies. Tliis island had various names an- 
ciently ; among others that of Ceraunia. The 
fable of the sickle of Saturn, with which he dis- 
membered his fatiier Oelus, being here depo- 
sited, seems to have arisen from the falcated form 
of the island. Corcyra was at first called Dre- 
pane, a name borrowed from A^ixocvn, or ApiTrx- 
vcvci, ' sickle ;' either because (as has been men- 
tioned) tiie sickle of Saturn was there deposited, 
or from Ceres, who, for a time, inhabited this 
island, and having first taiiglit the Titam, to suw 



and reap corn, obtained a sickle from Vulcan in 
retinn. She afterwards was fabled to have con- 
cealed this sickle in tlie maritime parts of the 
island, wiiicli conformed to the shape of it. 
Ceres is reported to have made this island her 
place of residence, out of affection to Macris, 
the nnr.^e of liacchus. The Pheacians, who in- 
habited this island, were said to be of divine 
origin. After the name of Drepane, Corcyra 
obtained that of Scheria. The origin of this 
name is assigned by Aristotle, in his ' Polity of 
the Corcyreans.' This name, also, is deduced 
from the interference of Ceres. It is said that 
she, being very apprehensive that Drepane, in a 
course of years, might become a continent, by 
the alluvions of rivers, entreated Neptune to turn 
the course of the rivers in question ; and the god 
having complied with her request, the island, 
instead of Drepane, began to be called Scheria ; 
from two Greek verbs, o-%Hiv, * to restrain,' and 
^ctv, * to flow.' The island was also called Ma- 
cris, from the nymph who nursed Bacchus: Cor- , 
cyra, from a nymph of tliat name, the daughter of i 
Asopus. — Gr. Scho. 

1536. With spacious harbours.'] The word, in 
the original, aix'Pi/'^a^p-nc, intimates, that this island 
afforded excellent ports on both sides ; the pro- 
jecting necks of laud, on which the city of Corfu 
and the town of Pagiopoli are situated, run out 
parallel to each other; and have, on each side 
of them, deep'y indented bays ; so that the epi- 
thet 'Au^^tXx^y,:^ or ' capacious,' applies with 
peculiar propriety to the port of Corcyra. Cal- . 
limachus, speaking of the harbour of this island, 
describes it as capacious, and o-ju^i^y/^i^j afford- 


ing an approach on either hand. Apollonius, in 
iiis Periplus of Europe, speaks of the haven of 
the Pheacians. — See Gr. Scho. 

1543. Bounteous Ceres.] It appears that Cor- 
cyra must anciently have been a great corn coun- 
try, and of uncommon fertility, since Ceres had 
so great a share in the fabulous traditions and 
anliquities of the island. The Pheacians were 
great lovers of pleasure and good cheer, to which 
they were naturally led by tlie fertility of the soil, 
and the benignity of the climate. This disposition 
of theirs is noticed by Horace : Pheax reverti, to 
retuiTi sleek and pitnipered. The inhabitants of 
Corcyra are celebrated by Callimachus, Hymn to 
DeloSjfor their hospitality. Ki^Kv^a, ^iXo^HvoJlariy, 

1547. Pheacians mild,] Acnsilaus says, in his 
third book, that the drops of blood which fell 
from Ccelus or Uranus, when he was mutilated by 
his son Saturn, (' who from his own and Rhea's 
son, like treasure found',) impregnating the 
ground, became the origin of the race of the 
Pheacians : and Alceus agrees with Acusilaus in 
saying, that the Pheacians have their origin from 
the drops of blood of Uranus. Homer says, that 
the Pheacians were domestic with the gods, on 
account of their descent from Neptune ; which is 
a poetical mode of intimating, that they were 
famous for commerce and navigation. (See Gr. 
Scho. v. 992.) The love of the Pheacians for 
sensual indulgence was so remarkable, that to 
live like a Pheacian became proverbial, to denote 
a ban vivant. The reader, who wishes to know 
more of the hospitality of this people, particu- 


larly of Alcinous and his subjects, and their fond- 
ness for the good things of this life, may consult 
Homer's Odyssey. At the time of the Trojan war, 
and perhaps even of the Argonautic expedition, 
if we believe the accounts of Homer and the tiieo- 
ries of some who make even the Argonautic en- 
terprise a commercial speculation, some trade was 
carried on. It must, however, have been very 
confined, as money was not then in use ; nor was 
any coined until long after the- Trojan war. The 
commerce of those times was therefore limited to 
an exchange of commodities. The Greeks pur- 
chased wine at Lemnos; and gave in exchange, 
brass, iron, hides, oxen, and slaves. The conve- 
nience of their ports, and the fertility of their 
soil, especially in corn, must have given the Phea- 
cians a great share in whatever commerce sub- 
sisted at that time ; and this will account for their 
opulence and luxury, beyond the manners and 
situation of other cotemporary nations, and also 
for their free and unreserved communication w ith 

1559. Colchian myriads.] Part of the Colchians, 
as has been already related, proceeded through 
the Ister, led by Absyrtus ; and came upon the 
Argonauts at the Brygean islands. The body of 
Colchians, whom the Greeks now encountered at 
the island of Corcyra, were those who had passed 
through the Cyanean rocks. — Gr. Scho. 

1588. Be witness, Ilecaie, ^c] There is a great 
attention to the observation of manners and cha- 
racters here. The swearing by Hecate was pecu- 
liarly proper in Medea, on account of her being a 
Colciiian, and addicted to magic rites, over wluck 


Hecate presided ; besides, Medea was priestess of 

159y. The dearest treasure of our sex.] It is part 
of the character and descriptiou of Medea to pos- 
sess words at will, and a knack of talking in a 
most plansible and persuasive manner. The poet 
lias never been inattentive to this circumstance. 
The topics of the present address to Arele are 
particularly well chosen and affecting. Her pal- 
liation of her frailty, and her sohcitude to con- 
vince the queen that she had preserved her chastity 
inviolate, are highly feminine and characteristic. 

i6^6. Furies to the suppliant, Sfc] That is to 
say, the avenging powers which await to protect 
suppliants, and avenge any wrongs or outrages 
which are committed against them. The person 
who was capable of violating the rights of hospi- 
tality, and injuiing the suppliant and the stranger, 
was held to be execrable and obnoxious to divine 

1670. O spouse belov'd,'] The speech of Arete to 
her husband is very artful and insinuating; the 
time is very opportune, and the motives of self- 
interest are judiciously selected to influence the 
mind of Alcinous. Arete was a woman of superior 
talents, and possessed great influence. Homer 
represents her as administering justice. 

1096. The fair Ant iope.] Antiope, the daughter 
of Nycteu-, was seduced by Jupiter, under the 
form of a satyr: flying from the rage of her father 
Nycteus, she took refuge in Sicyon with Epopeus, 
and having brought forth Amphion and Zethus, 
exposed them on Mount Citlieron. Nycteus died 
of grief; but, before his death, gave it in chnrgfi 


to his brother Lycus, to bring back his daughtc 
Lycus led an army into Sicyon, and killed Epo- 
peus ; then, carrying away Antiope captive, he 
delivered her into the custody of Dirce, iier step- 
mother, who consigned her over to her children 
to be tormented by them. Amphion an<l Zethus 
were brought up by a shepherd, and having at- 
tained to man's estate, they released their mother, 
and destroyed Dirce, by tying her to a wild horse. 
Having sent for Lycus, under the pretext of deli- 
vering Antiope to him, tliey were about to kill 
him ; but Hermes prevented them, and ordered 
Lycus to yield up the sovereignty to them. — (Gr. 
Scho.) Ovid, Metani. lib. vi. 1. 110, adverts to this 

1699. Danae.] Pherecydes, in his twelfth book, 
says, that Acrisius married Eurydice, the daughter 
of Lacedenion. Danae was the produce of this 
marriage. Acrisius having consulted the oracle, 
to know whether he should have a son, the Py- 
thian god answered, that he himself should not 
have a son ; but that his daughter would bear one, 
who was fated to destroy liim. Acrisius, on his 
return to Argos, caused a brazen chamber to be 
constructed in the court of his palace ; where he 
shut up Danae with her nurse, and kept her con- 
fined and closely watched, to prevent her having 
a son. Jove, being enamoured of the virgin, gained 
admission to her in a shower of gold, which glided 
through the roof, and was received by Danae in 
her bosom. The offspring of this intercourse was 
Perseus. Danae, with the assistance of her nurse, 
nourished him privately, and eluded the vigilance 
of Acrisius until he was three or four years old. 


Then Acrisius, hearing the voice of the infant 
playins:, called Danae and the nurse before him ; 
and killed the latter on the spot. Havinsj led his 
daughter to the altar of Jupiter Hercius, he inter- 
rogated her, without witnesses, respecting the 
father of the infant. She ascribed him to Jove ; 
but the father, disbelieving this stoiy, caused a 
coffer to be made, in wiiich he shut up Danae and 
her infant ; and ordered tljem to be cast into the 
sea. Tiiey were wafted to the isle of Seriphus. 
Diclys, the son of Peristhenes, being there fish- 
ing, with a net drew them to land; and, at the 
intreaties of Danae, opened the coffer. He con- 
ducted them to his house, and took care of them, 
as if they were his own kindred. Dictys and Po- 
lydectes were, it seems, the sons of Androthoe, 
the daughter of Castor, and Peristhenes, the son 
of Damastor, tlie son of Nauplius, the son of Nep- 
tune and Amymone ; as Piierecydes relates, in his 
first book. When Perseus was now crown up to 
manhood, the king of Seriphus fell in love with 
Danae ; and would have ottered violence to her, 
but was prevented by her son. In order, there- 
fore, to get rid of him, Polydectes sends Perseus 
to Africa, to obtain the head of the faujous gorgon, 
Medusa. To his surprise and mortification, he 
saw the young hero return crowned with a twofold 
success: having obtained Medusa's liead, and also 
having rescued Andromeda, the dang! iter of Ce- 
pheus and Cassiope, king and queen of Ethiopia, 
from being devoured by a sea-monster to which 
she was exposed. In the interim, the mother of 
Perseus, and Dictys, had been forced to take re- 
fuge, from the violence of Polydectes. Perseus 


turned the tyrant into stone, by the gorgon's head^ 
together vvith many of liis people, and invested 
Dictys with the sovereignty over the survivors. 
After tliis, he sailed to Argos with the Cyclops, 
Ills mother, and Andromeda. He did not find 
Acrisius there on his arrival. The monarch had 
retired to Larissa in Thessaly, and the country of 
the Pelasgians, through fear of his grandson. Not 
finding Acrisius, Perseus leaves Danae with her 
mother Eurydice, togetiier with Andromeda and 
the Cyclops, and hastens to Larissa. There, hav- 
ing made himself known to Acrisius, he persuades 
him to return with him to Argos. As they were 
on the point of setting out, it happened that 
Tantalus, the king of that coi;i5try, caused funeral 
games to be -celebrated in honour of his deceased 
father. Perseus being present at these games, in 
company with Acrisius, contended at the discus, 
(the pentathlon it seems was not then known, but 
each game was distinct and separate) and the 
disk happening to fall on the foot of his grand- 
father, wounded him in such a manner, tliat he 
died at Lari«sa. In consequence of this unfortu- 
nate accident, Perseus retired from Argos. See 
a subsequent note, respecting the head of Gorgon. 
Horace alludes to the fable of Danae, in his Odes, 
lib. iii. Ode 16. Some verses of Simonides are 
preserved, on the pathetic subject of Danae with 
her infant being committed to the waves ; which 
are di.«tinguished by a beautiful and affecting sim- 
plicity. They are supposed to be addressed by 
the unhappy mother to her infant.— See No. vii. 
of the remaiijs of Simonides. — Brunk's Aualecta. 
vol. i. p, 121: 



Vide Ovid, Metam. lib. iv. ver. 610. 

I70'i. Echetus.] Echetus is raentioned by Ho- 
mer as one of the most cruel of the human race ; 
and branded with the appellation of * Echetus, 
the scourge of humankind.' Offenders are threat- 
ened with the punishniient of being delivered up 
to this monster of inliumanity, both in the Iliad 
and Odyssey, as the most dreadful doom that could 
befal an unhappy wretch. There seems to be 
some small anachronism in this place ; Echetus 
was still alive, according to Homer, not only in 
the time of the Trojan war, but even many years 
after, at the return of Ulysses : and yet, so long 
before as the time of the Argonautic expedition, 
he is described by Arete as the injurious Echetus, 
already notorious to the world by his cruel treat- 
ment of his daughter. The Greek scholiast in- 
forms us, that the stoiy of Echetus is to be found 
in a work of Lysippus the Epirot, which is enti- 
tled, ' Catalogue of impious Men.' 

1718. / will not veil my purpose.'] There seems 
to be a vast deal of equity and good sense, and, 
indeed, a strict conformity with natural law, in 
this determ.iuation of Alcinous. It is most likely 
that Alcinous in his heart believed that Medea was 
not married ; and wished to suggest to his wife 
the necessity of hastening l:er nuptials, without 
appearing in the transaction himself: — while his 
wife was fiattered by attributing the whole ar- 
rangement of the business to her own address and 
dexteiity, and supposing that she had even over- 
reached and circumvented her husband. 

158 NOTES 0\ BOOK IV. 

1744. Baij of Hyllus.'] This was a harbour be- 
longing to the island of Corcyra. It took its 
name from Hylkis, the son of Hercules, and tlie 
nymph Mehta. 

1751. Pheacian cave.l This cave had been the 
habitation of the nymph Maciis, who gave her 
name to Corcyra; and here she had nursed Bac- 
chus. Tiiis cave, it seems, had two entrances; 
and hence (from ^^ and Sy^a) the god obtained 
the name of Dithyrites, and that species of poetry 
which was employed in the hymns composed in 
honour of Bacchus was called Dithyrambus. — 
(Gr. Scho.) Milton speaks of the cave. 

V/here"old Cham, 

Whom Gentiles Arnmon call, and Lybian Jove, 

Hid Amalihea, and her florid son 

Yomi'^ Bacchus, from his step-dame Rhea's eye.' 

1768. Queen of Jove.'] Juno, through that resent- 
ment which she felt against all those who were 
privy to the illicit amours of Jupiter, had expelled 
the nymph Macris from the island of Eubea; 
an isle which was peculiarly sacred to Juno, be- 
cause she had received Bacchus from the hands of 
Hermes, and nursed him. 

1784. Fear and modesty.'] These rustic nymphs, 
on account of the beauty of the fleece, were desi- 
rous of approaching and handling it ; but were 
restrained by shame and delicacy, on account of 
the rites of love to which it was so soon to be sub- 
servient. — See Gr. Scho. 

1787. Egeiis' sacred stream.] The Egelis was a 
river of Corcyra; the god of the stream was fatlicv 
of the nymph Melita, who bore Hyllus to Hcvcu- 


Ics, who gave his name to a race of people on tlie 
continent of Epirus, and to a harbour of Cor^ yra. 
Panyasis, in Iiis account of Lydia, says tliat Her- 
cules had two sons, who were both called Hyllus, 
from Hylins, a river of Lydia, wuich is said to 
have contributed to his cure on his return. — Gr. 

Authors differ respectiuiof the place v/here the 
nuptials of Jason and Medea were celebrated, 
Timzeus agrees with our author in fixing the place 
at Corcyra. Dionysiiis tlie Milesian, in the se- 
cond book of his Argonautics, says, that their nup- 
tials were celebrated at Byzantium. Antimachus, 
in his Lydia, says, that Jason and Medea indulged 
their mutual passion near the river Phasis ; and 
this is most probable. — See Gr. Scho. 

1793. Retains the name.} Apollonius here, ac- 
cording to his practice, displays his knowledge of 
antiquities. Tiie Greek scholiast informs us, thit 
other writers took notice of tiiis cave bearing the 
name of Medea. 

1810. Race of Kapkss man.] This sentiment is 
imitated by Ovid, lib. vii. ver. 454. 

18-2j. Around the point of Maoris.] He speaks 
of the peninsula, or projecting neck of land, on 
which the chief city of the Piieacians then stood, 
and where stands at present Corfu, the capital of 
the island. Apollonius (says the Greek sclioliast) 
describes it in his Periplus of Europe. Others 
seem to think, that the poet here speaks of a Cher- 
sonese running out from the main land of Epirus, 
opposite to Corcyra, which was called Jiacridia ; 
pro!)abIy, on account of its being peopled by a 
colony from Eubea, which was anciently called 


Macris. — See the Greek scholiast. Probably tiiii! 
was the place where Buthrotum was situated ; 
mentioned by Strabo in his seventh book. — Gr. 

1826. Sceptre.] Tlie sceptre was the symbolical 
ensign of royalty. It was nothing more than a 
staff more or less ornamented. It was borne by 
the sovereigns of those ancient times, and even by 
their delegates when they proceeded to solemn 
acts, such as concluding treaties, or pronouncing 
judgments. The sceptre of the ancient sovereigns 
of Russia was a simple staff. Such is still the 
sceptre of the little despots of Moldavia and Wal- 
lachia. The throne was a seat of stone, on which 
the monarch sate. The judges were at his side, 
on benches of the same kind. 

1876. Origin from Bacchus.'] The Eacchiades of 
Corinth, who took their name from Bacchius, the 
son of the god Bacchus. They were the most il- 
lustrious family in Corinth : and were expelled on 
account of the death of Acteon. The story runs 
thus: Melissus, having rendered important ser- 
vices to the Corinthians, who were in danger of 
being destroyed by Phidon, king of the Argives, 
was advanced to high honours among them on this 
account. The BocchiadiE, coming to his house 
by night, attempted to carry off his son Acteon 
by force ; but were resisted by the parents of the 
youth. A scufRe ensued, in wliich Acteon was 
unfortunately killed. Melissus, standing on the 
altar, denounced the most dreadful curses against 
the Corinthians, unless they avenged the death of 
his son : this was at the commencement of the 
Isthmian games. After he had spoken in this 


manner, be threw himself down headlong from a 
precipice which lay before him. The Corinthians, 
cautious of leaving the death of Acteon unpunish- 
ed, and, at the same time, being urged by the 
commands of an oracle, expelled the Bacchiadas. 
Chersocrates, one of the Bacchiada^, founded the 
city of Corcyra, having expelled the Colchians ; 
who retired to the continent, and settled there 
near the Ceraunian mountains. — Gr. Scho. 

1877. Ephyra.] Corinth was thus called from 
Ephyra, the daughter of Epimetheus, Eumelus 
says, that Ephyra was the daughter of Oceanus 
and Tethys, and wife of Epimetheus. — Gr. Scho. 

1879. Bacchiadce .'] The story told by the scho- 
liast, concerning the Bacchiadae, does not agree 
with the most authentic historical relations. After 
the line of Sisiphus was extinct, the kings, who 
descended from Aletes, affected to call themselves 
Heraclidae, Aletes being descended from Her- 
cules. Tliis name they after changed to Bac- 
chiades, from Bacchius, the fifth in descent from 
Aletes, They held the kingdom for a long tine, 
until the family grew so numerous, and the people 
so weary of regal government, that they entirely 
dis5iolved it by common consent, in the reign of 
Telestes their last king. This prince becoming 
odious to his subjects, two of his kinsmen formed 
a conspiracy against him. After his death, two 
hundred of the principal Bacchiadae seized on the 
government, and shared the administration of af- 
fairs among themselves ; electing a supreme out 
of their own body, whom they called Prjtanis. 
Corinth continued under this aristocracy for about 
two hundred and forty years; when Cypselus, one 


cf the Bacchiada?, by the mother's side, but not 
in the paternal line, (being encouraged to the at- 
tempt by an oracle) possessed himself of the sove- 
reign authority, and became king. 

1878. After times.'] Timaeus says, that Cliersi- 
crates was expelled from Corinth, and founded 
the colony in question, upwards of six hundred 
years after the time of the Trojan war. 

1885. Ncst^an seats, Sfc-I Scylax, in his Peri- 
plus, says, that the Nestaei were a people of Illyria. 
From their country to the bay of IVIanius, is (ac- 
cording to him) one day's sail. Eratosthenes says, 
in his geography, ' After the lilyrians come the 
Nestasi. Ka^' h: vn^(^ (pa^^ Oasiuiv arotx®-. — 
(Gr. Scho.) Oricos was a maritime town of Epi- 
rus, nearly opposite the port of Brundusium in 
Italy, now called Brindisi. 

1889. Altar by Medea.] Timonax, in the first 
book of his Sicelics, says that Jason married Me- 
dea in Colchis, with the consent of iEetes ; and 
that he saw in his voyage about tlie Euxine sea, 
certain gardens, which are called the gardens of 
Jason ; at the place where that hero is said to have 
landed. He adds, that gymnastic exercises, and 
the throwing of the discus, are stiil kept up there 
in honour of the Argonauts; and tliat the bridal 
chamber of Medea, where the nuptials were con- 
summated, was preserved ; and also a temple near 
the city, erected by Jason; together with many 
otlrer temples consecrated by him. But Timaeus 
says, that Medea and Jason were married in Cor- 
cyra ; and, speaking of sacrifices, asserts that in 
his time sacrifice was performed annually in the 
jLempie of Apollo,where Medea originally sacrificed ; 


and that monuments, erected to commemorate her 
marriage, remained at the shore not far from the 
cit)^, and \vere called the monuments of the 
Nymphs and Nereids. — Gr. Scho. 

1890. Nomian Phcbus.] Apollo was no called 
from the Greek No/a®^, ' a law ;' as presiding over 
law and justice. Tliis altar was erected by jNIc- 
dea, to perpetuate the memory of the righteous 
doom pronounced by Alcinou«, which she sup- 
posed to be inspired by Apollo Nomius. 

1 908. Amhracia.'} A famous city of Thesprotia 
in Epirus, near the river Acheron, formerly called 
Epuia and Paralia. Here was kept the court of 
king Pyrrhus. After Augustus had conquered 
JIark Anthony, he called this city Nicopolis, in 
honour of his victory. Its port was particularly 
famous. — Vide Mela, lib. ii. c. 3. and Livy, lib. 
xxxviii. c. 3. 

1909. HaUow'd seats.l It is doubtfiil whether 
the seat of the Cnretes here meant is not Acarna- 
nia; to which place the Caretcs aje said to have 
emigrated when they were expelled from Etolia. 
Strabo has a long but unsatisfactory passage on 
this subject in his tenth book.— (Oxf. edit.) See 
also Diod. Sic. lib. v. c. 64, et s.?q. The Curetes 
are supposed to have had their first origin from 
Crete. — Virgil, Georgic, lib. iv. ver. 151 : 

Curetum sonitus crepitantiaqite (era secutce, 
Dictao tali regem pavere sub antra. 

1910. Echinades.'] These were five small islands 
in the Ionian sea, near the mouth of the river 
Achelous, and not far from the gulf of Lepanto. 

191 a. Land of Pelops.] So Ovid : Pelopeia Pit- 


theus me misit in area. He means Piirygia, where 
Tantalus, the father of Pelops, reigned. 

1917. Sijrtes.] There were two Syrtes on the 
coast of Lybia ; the greater and the lesser. They 
are mentioned by most of the ancient writers. 
Milton's description, Paradise Lost, book ii. ver. 
939, corresponds with that of Apollonius: 

QUench'd iu a boggy Syrtis, neither sea 
Js'or good dry Innrt ; nigh foaadered on he fares. 
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 
Half flying; behoves him now both sail and oar. 

Major Rennell speaks thns of the Syrtes, in his 
excellent work on the geography of Herodotn^, 
p. 646, et seq. (by whom they are mentioned hx 
his Melpomene, 169 :) ' The Syrtes, which were 
the terror of ancient mariners, are two wide shal- 
low gulfs which penetrate very far w ithin the nor- 
thern coast of Africa, between Cartilage and Gy- 
rene, in a part where it already retires very far 
back, to form the middle bason or widest part i f 
the Mediterranean sea. The north and east winds 
of course exert their full force on these shores, 
which are exposed to them. At the same time, 
that not only certain parts of those shores are 
formed of moveable sand, but the gulfs themselves 
are also thickly sown with shallows of the same 
kind ; which, yielding to the force of the waves, 
are subject to variations in their form and posi- 
tions. To this must be added, the operation of 
the winds, in checking or accelerating the mo- 
tions of the tides ; which are, therefore, reducible 
to no rules. 

* The two Syrtes are more than two hundred 


iJerman miles asunder, and are distinguisiifj by 
the terms greater and lesser ; of which it would 
appear, Herodotus knew only the former, by die 
name of Syrtis ; tlie latter, by that of the lake 
Tritonis. Not but that both were known, aad bad 
obtained tiie above distinctive names, in the time 
of Scylax, whom we may conceive to have written 
before the time of Herodotus. It is remarkable, 
that Herodotus is silent respecting tlie properties 
of the Syrtis, which he mentions by name; wiiilst 
he speaks of the dangers of the other in a pointed 
manner. We are not, however, to infer from this 
silence, that he was ignorant of the dangers of tije 
greater Syrtis. The greater Syrtis bordered on 
the west of the province of Cyrenaica ; and pene- 
trated to the depth of about one hundred miles 
within the two capes tliat formed its mouth or 
the opening, which were that of Boreum pfi the 
east, Cephalus or Tricorium on the west. In front 
jt was opposed to the opening of the Adriatic 
sea ; and tlie Mediterranean, in this part expanding 
to the breadth of near ten degrees, exposed this 
gulf to the violence of the northerly winds. Scy- 
lax reckons it a passage of three days and nights 
across its mouth. It is not, however, pretended 
that the whole extent of this space was equally 
dangerous, or that there were dangers in every pai t. 
' The lesser Syrtis lay opposite to the islands of 
Sicily and Malta. It appears to be no more than 
forty or fifty German miles in breadth, but pene- 
trates to about seventy-five within the continent. 
We have the word of Scyiax, that it was the most 
dangerous of the two. The islands Cercina and 
C'ercinitis bounded its entrance to the north ; 



Meninx, or that of the Lotophagi, on the south. 
It was here that Jason is said (by Herodotus) to 
have been in imminent danger of shipwreck, pre- 
vious to his setting out on the Argonautic expe- 
dition.— Melp. 179. 

* There are several short descriptions of the 
Syrtes on record ; that of Lucan is the most 
pointed, and, making allowances for the colourinj; 
of a poet, not very different from that given by 
Edrisi in later times; or, indeed, what may be 
collected from Strabo : 

' When Nature's band the fir^t formation tried, 
When seas from lands slie did at tirst divide, 
^he Syrts, not quite of sea nor land beicft, 
A mingled mass, uncertain still she left. 
For nor the land with sea is quite o'erspread, \ 

Nor sink the waters deep their oozy bed, i- 

Nor earth defends her shore, nor lifts aloft its head. * 
The scite with neither and with each complies, 
Doubtful and inaccessible it lies; 
Or 'tis a sea with shallows bank'd around, 
- Or Ms a broken land with wafers drown'd j 

Here shores advanc'd o'er Neptune'.^ rule we find, 

And there an inland ocean lags behind. 

Thus Nature's purpose, by herself destroy'd, -s 

Is useless to herself and unemploy'd, y 

And part of her creation still is void. j 

Perhaps when first the world and time began, 

Here swelling tides and plenteous waters ran; 

But long confining on die burning zone, 

The sinking seas have felt the ntighbouring sun. 

Still by degrees we see ho\y they rlecay. 

And scarce resist the thirsty god of day. 

Perhaps, in difi'ereut ages 'twili be found, 1 

When future suns have run the burning round, ^ 

The Syrtes shall be dry and solid ground. — j 

Small are the depths the scanty waves retain, 

Aiid earth grows daily on the yielding main." — 

Eout's Lvcan. 


This description, as Major Rennell observes, has 
a boldness peculiar to itself. 

' The dangers of the two Syrtes were different. 
Tliose of the greater being produced by the quick- 
sands, both on the shore and in the otfing, (and it 
is of tliese Apollonius speaks) and which Avere 
rendered more formidable by their great extent. 
The dangers of the lesser Syrtis arose, more par- 
ticularly, from the variations and uncertainty of 
the tides on a flat, shelvy coast. In effect, Pliny 
supplies no description at all of the Syrtes : he 
only says, they are horribly dangerous, (lib. iv. c. 
5.) Neither does Solinus ; but both of them seem 
to consider the irregularity of the tides as the sole 
or chief cause of danger. Strabo imputes the 
danger, not only to the tides, but to the flatness 
and ooziness of the bottom ; and observes, that 
ships, whilst navigating this part, keep as wide as 
possible of the indraught of tlie gulfs.' Major 
Rennell observes, that the Goodwin Sands of Eng- 
land possess much the same properties as the 
shallows and coast of the greater Syrtis. The 
lesser Syrtis is now called the gulf of Kabes : from 
this cape, (Capoudia) says Dr. Shaw, all along to 
the island of Jerba, (i. e. of the Lotophagi,) we 
have a succession of little flat islands, banks of 
sand, oozy bottoms, or small depths of water. The 
inhabitants make no small advantage of these 
shallows, by wading a mile or two from the shore, 
and fixing, as they go, hurdles of reeds, which 
enclose a number of fish. Dr. Siiaw was informed, 
that frequently at the island of Jerba, on the south 
side of the Syrtes, the sea rose twice a day above 
its usual height. 


1928, IVinds conspiring, Sfc.^ The Descriptiou 
of this shoal and inaccessible lee shore, with a 
raging north wind beating on it, is exactly con- 
formable to the description given by the different 
writers quoted in Major Rennell's work. 

1930. Tides resistless.] It has been supposed 
that there are no tides in the Mediterranean ; it 
is ascertained, however, that this is a vulgar 
error, by various relations, both ancient and mo- 
dern. ApoUonins, in spealdng here of the violent 
and dangerous effect of the tides, is strictly cor- 
rect, and conformable to truth. The whole ex- 
tract from Major Rennell, above given, will be 
found to reflect considerable light on this part of 
the poem of Apollonius. 

1939. No path, no haunt of shepherds.] Sallust 
agrees perfectly with our poet, in his description 
of a part of Libya, in the Jugurthine war. Col- 
lins, in his second oriental eclogue, entitled 
' Hassan, or the Camel Driver,' has employed the 
same ideas to great advantage. 

1946. Better the dangers known.] Virgil has 
imitated this passage, jEneid, lib. i. ver. 93. 

1 957. Sad Ancavs.] The speech of Anceeus is 
much in character. His observations are sen- 
sible, and show the care and attention of an ex- 
perienced mariner. 

2014. TJie parent hird."] This simile is perfectly 
original, and highly beautiful and expressive. The 
fears, the tenderness, and unavailing cries of the 
Pheacian virgins, (who found themselves sent, 
from the ease, the plenty, and indulgence of a 
palace, in Pheacia, their native country, to perish 
by hunger in that Libyan desert are well ex- 


p'ressed by the helpless state of the young and 
unfledged birds faUuig out of the parent nest iu 
a rock, in the absence of the mother. The vir- 
gins here mentioned are those Avhoni Arete sent 
with Medea, to attend her. This simile is copied 
by Virgil, .Eneid, lib. xii. ver. 475, in some 
degree : 

Pabtila pan a kgens, nidisque loquacibus escas. 

U05:x Heroines.] These nymphs of Cyrene are 
also called Heroides in an epigram of Callima- 
chus, which is found in the first volume of Span- 
heim's edition of Callimachus, p. 368 : 

The word in the original is, by synalaephe, -n ^w^'yx.i, 
for ri^wiTcra*. 

204-1. The shading veil.'] The veil is properly 
an ornament of women ; the circumstance of Jason 
having a veil thrown over his head, as he lay 
upon the ground, shows how much he was «le- 
jected and unmaimed by his sufferings and sorrows. 

2055. A loml reign.] Tliese rustic and pastoral 
deities were properly said to obtain local dignity 
and influence iu Libya, or Cyrenaica, wiiere the 
pastoral life and manners prevailed. Near this 
was the most fertile part of Libya. 

2062. Tender parent.] The nymphs here speak 
in an obscure and oracular manner. The careful 
parent, darkly mentioaed by tiiem, appears, in 
the sequel, to l>e n>eant for a description of the 
ship Argo ; which liad home tl»e iVigonaiits in 
her bold, as in a womb, through the vaiious perils 


of the voyage. There is a similar double meanin«', 
and withdrawing of the obvious truth, in the pro- 
phecy of the harpy Celaeno, in Virgil ; where she 
tells the Trojans that they should be reduced to eat 
their tables. ^Eneid, hb. iii. ver. 255 : 

NoH ante datam cingetts manibus ttrbpin 
Quam vos (lira fames nostraque injuria cadis 
Ambesas subigat malis absuniere mensas. 

Many instances of similar obscure predictions 
occur in ancient histories. Such was the answer 
of the oracle to Cresus respecting Cyrus — Hero- 
dotus, Clio : 

*AXX' OTfiV >)jUiov(}^ /Sao-tXji/; M^i^oio-i yEV>5Tfi{ 
K«t TOT£ A-joi ■^ASola^Ds tj:oKv\'n^ilci, vjct^ ' Eofxo'f 

' When o'er the Medes a mn!e shall bear the sway. 
Then, Ljdian, tremble ; Jftid on Hermiis' bank 
Prepare thy flight, nor dread a coward's name.' 

Cyrus was called a mule, because he was half 
Mede, half Persian, by birth. Of this nature 
was the oracle which cautioned Epaniinondas to 
beware of what the Greeks called the ' Pelagus ;' 
whicli he understanding to mean the sea, which is 
called in Greek, liiKccyo:^ forbore to go in any 
ship or galley. Whereas it was the Mantinean 
wood of that name of which the oracle bid hira 
beware. Much after the same manner is the Car- 
thaginian general said to have been deceived, 
when he was told by an oracle that he should be 
buried in Libya; whence he concluded, that after 
he had beaten the Romans, he should return and 
die in his own counti^ j whereas the oracle meant 


tbe town of Libyssa, which the Nicomedians 
called Libya. When the elder Brutus went with 
tbe Tarqunis, bis kinsmen, to consult the oracle 
of Delphi, they were told, that be who should 
first kiss bis mother, on their return, should obtain 
the chief authority at Rome. Brutus, who alone 
apprehended tbe true meaninij of the oracle, fell 
down, as if by accident, and kissed tlie ground, 
the common mother of all. Such is the language, 
in tbe prediction of the witches in Macbeth, when 
they a^^sure him be shall never b3 conquered, 
' Till Biruam wood do come to Dunsinane j' and 
again tell him, 

' Fear not, Macbeth — no man of woman born 
Has power to hurt thee.' 

We have another instance in history of a puzzling 
oracle. Tbe Lacedemonians proved unsuccessful 
in a war against the Arcadians ; and were told by 
the oracle, they should continue to be so till they 
brought back the bones of Orestes, the son of 
Agamemnon. Where to find them was tbe diffi- 
culty. Tiiey again consulted the oracie, and were 
answered : 

' Tn the Arcadian plain lies Tegoa, 
^Vhere two impetuous winds are forced to bl iw ; 
Form resists form, mischief on mischiet strikts : 
Here mother earth keeps Agamemnon's nr.i; 
Cany him otf, and be victorious.' 

The solution of the enigma was accidentally found 
out by Licbes, a Spartan ; who, being one day at 
Te^ea, observed a smith workini; at bis forge ; 
wiio told hiij), that in sinking a well, be iiad found 


a coffin seven cubits long ; and having Ijad the cu- 
riosity to open it, to see if the body answered 
the length of the coffin, he had found it exactly 
fitting, and laid it again where he found it. 
Liches, comparing the place he was in, and the 
answer of the oracle, conceived, that by the two 
winds were meant the smith's bellows; by the 
contending forms, the hammer and anvil ; and by 
the double mischief, the ills which are caused by 
iron. He had himself banished, for some pre- 
tended crime, the better to elude suspicion ; he 
repaired to Tegea ; and having, Avith some diffi- 
culty, hired the smith's enclosures, dug up the 
bones privately, and conveyed them to Sparta. 

2066. Achaan shore.] By this he means Thessaly 
or Hellas ; but it is better to understand Thessaly, 
the inhabitants of which are called Achei. Thus 
Homer : 

Nw 3' av ry; o<r<ro* creXaTyixov cft^ Jvatsy. 

And again : 

MofjU.»5onf 5« x(x>^£wlo xa»^XX))y£; xm axatoi. — ^Gr. Scho. 

2068. The mjmphs cvanish'd.l The appearance 
of these rural divinities, and their address to 
Jason, with their sudden vanishing, evidently seem 
to have furnished Virgil with the idea of the 
scene between Vemis and her son, in the first 
iEneid, ver. ol.5. 

2080. Forward he rush'd, and loudly calVd, S^x.'] 
Is it too fanciful to suppose, that the picture here 
^ivtn by Apolionius, of Jason calling aloud and 
foiisiug his companions who lay extended on the 
sand^, despairing and confounded, furnished Miltou 


with his first idea of Satan calling to the fallen 
spirits, who lay stretched and confounded on the 
oblivious lake? The arch-tieud, like Jason, rouses 
himself by an effort : 

Torthwith upright he rears, from off the pool. 
His mighty stature. 

With equal loudness he calls to his companions : 
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deeps 
Of hell resounded.— 

And the Argonauts and angels of darkness, in like 
manner, at the call of their respective leaders, 

* Came flocking where he stood on the bare strand.' 

The words * bare strand,' actually seem to refer to 
the present state of the Argonauts. 

i^085. The tawny Hon.] There is a noble amplifi- 
cation in this passage. The roar of the lion is 
supposed to be so loud and tremendous, that even 
the places which lay low and secure shook. There 
is a peculiar appositeness in this simile. The call 
of the hero, though it sounded loud and dreadful 
to strangers, was the call of friendship to his com- 
panions, and welcome to their ears ; in the same 
manner the roar of the lion was the voice of 
savage love ; and though terrible to the shepherd; 
it was pleasing and acceptable to the females. 

illy. And to ijour mother.'] It is usual with the 
ancient poets, when any command or prediction of 
a divinity, or any person of very superior rank, 
(as, for instance, of a king, or other person having 
supreme authority) is to be propounded, to recite 
it over again, word for word. The reader who is 
conversant with Homer will recollect a multitude 


of instances of this kind in his writings. Tiid 
nymphs here spoken of were indigenous or local 
deities, peculiar to Libya. They are supposed 
by the poet to have been advanced to this lii,;!i 
station for the attention paid by them to Paiias 
when she first rose to existence. The Greek 
scholiast says, that Stesichorns was the first who 
pretended that Minerva spruni: armed from the 
head of Jove. The nymphs are called 'Au^vj-o-cra*, 
atfable, or admitting of a communication with 
man, because they were a kind of protecting 
geniuses, who were in the habit of revealing 
themselves, and conversing with mortals. Milton 
speaks thus of Raphael. He calls him ' Raphael, 
the affable angel.' Callimachus mentions these 
nymphs in the terms, AECTrotvat Ai(3uri; "xat 
Nacrajuwvwv ccvXiv koa ^oXi^^oi,^ S'tvag aTro/SAsTTETS 

2127. 0/ joy and grief .~\ Sorrow, to think they 
could not develope the meaning of the oracle or 
injunction of the Libyan heroines ; joy, to think 
that their condition was not altogether hopeless. 
A situation like that described by I>Iilton, Para- 
dise Lost, book ii. ver. 2Si4 : 

For happy though but ill, for ill not v.orst. 

2129. A courser.] So Virgil, ^Eneid, lib. iif. 
ver. 537 : 

Quatuor hie primiwi omen eqiios in graminc I'uli. 

I perhaps deceive myself; but there seems to me 
to be something in the sound of this line of Vir- 
gil, expressive of the trampling and prancing of 
liorses. Tlie taking an omeu of good fortune 

NOTES 0\ BOOK IV. 175 

from the appearance of these liorses, palpably 
was suggested to Virgil by the horse which is here 
introduced by our poet. It is cm ions to remark 
these coincidences, even in minute tilings, since 
they show how constantly Virgil had the poet of 
Alexandria in his thoughts. 

214',\ VesseL'l The poet has here, in a very sub- 
lime and poetical manner, embellished and related a 
simple and common transaction ; namely, that the 
Argonauts hauled their vessel asliore, and carried 
it over some part of the land, to avoid the dan- 
gers of the Syrtes, This does not seem to be a 
thing altogether so incredible as at first view 
might be apprehended. T'le ships, in those early 
times, were small and light, mere barks ; and 
the lading of the Argo could not have been very 

2J55. So has the Muse.'] Here again we find 
the poet resorts to the authority of the Muses, as 
a sanction for what he narrates ; and tells the 
reader, that he only repeats what he iiad received 
from t ;em. This proceeds from a consciousness, 
that what he was about to tell must appear incre- 
dible. Thus Ariosto, whenever he is about to 
relate some extravagant fiction, always reff rs his 
reader to the authority of Archbishop Turpin, 
the early historiographer of romance ; and assures 
him, that he only repeats what he had learned 
from // buon Turpino. 

2160. Ajid thus they sang.] Virgil, perhaps, may 
be censured for his having related that the lock 
of Dido was cut off by Iris, and that the ships of 
Eneas were turned into sea-nymphs. Apollenius 
is much more modest and more cautious of vio- 


]atiDg credibility. Apprehensive tliat it niighf 
seem improbable that the Argonauts, without the 
assistance of any deity, and merely by their own 
strength and exertion, ^irt kva oc^sTn, should have 
been able to carry their ship during so many 
days ; he takes care to ascribe this piece of his- 
tory to tJie Muses. — See Mr. Upton's note in the 
Oxford edition. 

2164. Twelve times did Phebus.'] This circum- 
stance of making them carry their bark twelve 
days' journey, agrees well enough with what Major 
Rennell says of the distance between the greater 
and lesser Syrtes : if, by the lesser Syrtis, we 
understand the lake of Tritonis. 

2173. The lake of Pallas.'] For more particular 
considerations on the lake Tritonis, see the note 
in a subsequent passage. 

2178. Burning thirst.] The waters of the lake 
Tritonis were quite salt, and could aflbrd them no 
relief. The soil about them was also so impreg- 
nated with sail, that the springs are brackish. The 
same is tlie case in tlie deserts of Egypt. 

2182. The serpent Ladon.] The dragon which 
guarded the Hesperian fruit was called Ladon. 
Pisander supposed him to be the offspring of the 
earth. Hesiod says, that he sprung from Typlion. 
Agretas, in the third book of his Lybics, asserts, 
that what were commonly supposed to be apples 
were not fruit, but certain flocks of sheep, of 
surprising beauty, which were called * golden,' on 
account of their great value : (this mistake might 
have arisen from the ambiguity of the word 
/xTiXot ;) and that these flocks were guarded by a 
very savage and ferocious shepherd, who, from 


liis fierce and cruel disposition, was called a 
dragon. Pherecydes, in his tenth book of the 
* Marriage of Juno,' says, that the land in islands 
of the ocean produced golden apples, or apple- 
trees bearing golden fruit, which were guarded by 
a dragon sprung from Typhou, who had a hundred 
heads, and uttered all mauner of sounds and 
voices : and that the nymphs, the daughters of 
Jove and Themis, who resided in a cave near 
Eridanus, suggested to Hercules, who was in deep 
perplexity on the subject, the idea of inquiring 
from Venus where the golden apples were to be 
found. Hercules, by their advice, seized Nereus 
forcibly, who at first transformed himself into 
water, then into fire ; but at last, returning to his 
original form, revealed to Hercules the place 
where the apples were to be found. Hercules, in 
consequence of this information, proceeded in 
quest of his object ; and, having arrived at Tar- 
tessus in Spain, passed over from thence to Libya. 
There his first exploit was to kill Antaeus, a 
savage and injurious person, sprung from Nep- 
tune. After this, he penetrated to the Nile and 
Memphis, and to the dominions of Busiris, who 
was also the son of Neptune. Him too the hero 
slew, with Iphidamas his son, Chalbes his herald, 
and liis attendants, at the altar of Jove, where 
they had been tised to sacrifice strangers. Hav- 
ing arrived at Thebes, he proceeded through the 
mountains into the region beyond Libya, in the 
deserts of which he killed many wild beasts with 
his bow and arrows. Having purged Libya of 
the monstere which infested it, he descended 
towards the sea which lies beyond it; and having 


received a golden cup from the siiu, he passes 
over in it to Perga, saiUng through the sea 
beyond Libya, and through the ocean. Having 
arrived where Prometheus was bound, and being 
seen by him, he takes pity on his sufterings and 
supplications. He kills the vulture, and frees 
him. Prometheus, in return for his kindness, 
advises him not to go in person for the golden 
apples ; but to repair to Atlas, and order him to 
go for them, while he himself should support the 
heavens in the place of Atlas, during his absence 
on this fliission, to obtain these apples from the 
Hesperides. Fortified with this advice, Hercules 
proceeds to Atlas, explains to him the nature of 
his labour, and directs him to go and procure for 
him three of the apples. Atlas, having rested the 
lieavens upon the siioulders of Hercules, hastens 
to the Hesperides ; and, having received from 
them the apples, returns and finds Hercules sup- 
porting the heavens. Instead of giving the pre- 
cious fruit to the hero, as he had promised, he 
proposed that Hercules siiould continue to sup- 
port his burden, while he himself should proceed 
with the apples, and deliver them. Hercules 
seemed to assent to this proposition, but con- 
trived, by stratagem, to return the burden to 
him who had so long sustained it. He desired 
Atlas to resume his charge for a moment, until 
he (Hercules) should prepare a cap for his head ; 
(a ruse, which had been suggested by Prometheus.) 
Atlas, not suspecting the scheme, laid down the 
apples on the ground, and received the heavens 
on his head and shoulders. Hercules immediately 
possessed himself cf the apples, and bidding 


Atlas farewell, hastened to Mycena?, and deli- 
vered his prize to Eurystheus, Such is the enter- 
taining fairy talc of the good old scholiast. — 
Vid. Gr. Scho. 

Spanliemius, in his notes on the hymn to Ceres, 
of Callimachus, ver. 11, employs much pains and 
learning on the explication of this fable of the 
dragon and the golden fruit. It is most pro- 
bable, that these golden apples were citrons and 
oranges, produced in the islands on the coast of 
Africa. Malta, Ave know, is still celebrated for 
its admirable oranges. This fruit, when first 
known, was considered as a great curiosity among 
the Greeks. Citrous and oranges were called 
Mala Piinica. They w ei e used in the mysteries 
of Bacchus, according to a line of Orpheus, 
which is quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus. Span- 
heim observes, that there is an antique medallion 
■which is in the collection of the king of France ; 
it represents Hercules taking these apples from 
the tree of the Hesperides. It is said by some 
that Atlas, (having laid down the burden of the 
Tieavens which he had long sustained) agreed with 
the Hesperides for the possesiiou of these apples. 
It is supposed by many, that all this fable of the 
apples and the serpent, may be a faint shadow, 
derived by tradition from the scriptiue account 
of the fall of man. 

2i8.5. Soil of Atlas.'] Africa, where, according 
to the ancients, Atlas reigned. Thus Virgil, 
^neid, lib. iv. ver. 181': 

Ultimii^ ^thiofum locus eat, uh'i maximus Atlas. 


^186. Hesperian tnaidsJ] So called, either from 
the appearance of evening, or from their residing 
in Hesperia. The Hesperides were the daughters 
of Phorcus and Ceto. From one of these nymphs 
the island borrowed its name, \vhich was inha- 
bited by Geryoneus ; who owned the dog Orthus, 
the brother of Cerberus, and whom Hercules 
killed. Some say, that this dog was the property 
of Atlas. — Gr. Scho. — Virgil, iEneid, lib. vii. ver. 
661, alludes to this exploit of Hercules, men- 
tioned by the scholiast : 

Postquam Laurentia victor, 

Geryone exstincto, Tirynthliis attigit ana, 
Tyrrhenoque boves iiijiumine lavit Iberas. 

Servius, in his note on this passage, mentions the 
dog Orthus. Geryon and his dog are likewise 
celebrated by Pindar, first Isthmian Ode. 

The scholiast, in commenting on this passage, 
mentions the dog Orthus. And one of the anno- 
tators on Pindar remarks, that there is an euallage 
of the number in the preceding lines ; since, in fact, 
Geryon had but one dog. This dog is also noticed 
by Hesiod, in Theog. ver. 30y. According to otlier 
accounts of the Hesperides, they were the daugh- 
ters of Hesperus, the brother of Atlas, and shep- 
herdesses by profession. Hermes carried off their 
sheep, which, for their exquisite beauty, were 
called ' golden,' (as has been already said) and 
killed the shepherd. 

2210. JVhetha- you join, ^c] The herd addresses 


the nymphs ia tliis strain of uncertainty, because 
there were various classes and descriptions of 
these divinities. Some were Urania?, or celestial 
nymphs ; others Epigaea^, or terrestrial ; some Po- 
tamiip, or river nymphs; others Limnccae, or 
nymphs of tlie lakes : some Tlialassid?, or nymphs 
of the sea. lu short, the general denomination 
of nymphs was subdivided into several tribes or 
families, as Mnesimachus says, in his Diacosmi. — 
Gr. Scho. 

'2216. Some rock disclme.'] We find tlie soddess 
Rhea in the same manner praying for water, in 
the first hymn of Callimachns ' ad Jovem.' All 
the land, according; to the poet, being at thaj 
time destitute of springs : 

'EfTTE xaj cf/lxvjTa<rx Seas f^syr^.v uv!/s3« ■t>ix,uv 
nxjifev 'Of ^ o-xrjTrlfiu to Je o* 5iX,a woXu Stej-n 
'Ex J' y^sv tjxeycc ^evfxa. 

One cannot forbear remai-king the striking re- 
semblance between the passage now cited, and 
the description in scripture of Moses in the wil- 
derness, striking, the rock with his staff and caus- 
ing water to flow, to satisfy the thirst of the 
Israelites. It is, indeed, one of tliose passages 
which may lead us to think that the Alexandrine 
poets had access to t!ie inspired authors of iioly 
writ, in the translation of the seventy interpreters. 
The passage is in Exodus xvii. vcr. 6. ' Behold, I 
will stand before tiiee there upon the rock in 
Hoveb ; and thou shalt smite the rock, and tlierc 
shall come water out of if, that tlie people may 
vol.. IV. ^ 


drink : and Moses did so in the sight of the 
elders of Israel.' And in the Psalms : < He 
smote the steny rock, so that tiie waters gushed 
out, and the streams flowed withal.' 

2231. Soon in trees, ^t.] Hespera, Erytheis^ 
Egle — these were the names of the nymphs. 
This passage is very poetical and It is 
one of the prettiest and most fanciftd transfor- 
mations that can be found in any poet, ancient 
or modern. The compassionate nymphs, desirous 
to recreate the senses of the weary Argonauts, 
first cover the ground with grass; then cause 
taller herbs to spring ; then transform themselves 
into various trees : but not like the Hamadryads, 
who had each of them a permanent union of 
connection and vital existence with some parti- 
cular tree. At last these nymphs pass from the 
semblance of trees, to their original and proper 
nymph-like appearance. 

2262. Lake of Pallas.] The lake Tritonis. It 
is mentioned by Lucan, lib. ix. ver. 347. Hero- 
dotus speaks thus of the lake Tritonis ; Melp, 
178,179,180: 'Towards the sea, the Machlyes 
border on the Lotophagi. They extend as far as 
a great stream called the Triton, which enters 
into an extensive lake named Tritonis, in which 
is the island of Phia. An oracular declaration 
they said had foretold, that some Lacedemonians 
should settle themselves here. 

* The particulars are these : when Jason had 
constructed the Argo, at the foot of Mount Pe- 
lion, he carried on board a hecatomb for sacrifice, 
and a brazen tripod. He sailed round the Pelopon 
nese, with the intention to visit Delphi. As he ap- 


preached Malea, a north wind drove him to the 
African coast; and before he could discover land, 
he got amongst the shallows of the lake Tri- 
tonis : not being able to extricate himself from 
this situation, a Triton is said to have appeared 
to him, and to have promised him a secure and 
easy passage, provided he would give him the 
tripod. To this Jason assented ; and the Triton, 
having fulfilled his engagement, placed the tripod 
on the bank, from whence he communicated to 
Jason, and his companions, what was afterwards 
to happen. Amongst other things, he said, tliat 
whenever a descendant of the Argonauts should 
take away this tripod, there would be a hundred 
Grecian cities near the lake of Tritonis. The 
Grecians, hearing this prediction, concealed the 

' The Machlyes have an annual festival, in 
lionour of Minerva, in which tlie young women, 
dividing tliemselves into two bands, engage each 
other with stones and clubs. These rites, they 
say, were instituted by their forefathers, in vene- 
ration of her whom we call Minerva ; and if any 
die, in consequence of wounds received in this 
contest, they say that she was no virgin. Before 
the close of the fight they observe this custom : 
she, who, by common consent, appears to have 
fought the best, has a Corinthian helmet placed 
on licr head, is clothed in Grecian armour, and 
carried in a chariot round the lake. How the 
virgins were decorated in this solemnity before 
they had any knowledge of the Greeks, T am not 
able to say; probably they might use Egyptian 
arms. We. may venture io affirn>, that the Greek* 


borrowed from Egypt the shield and the hehn6f. 
It is pretended that Minerva was the daughter of 
Neptune, and the divinity of the lake ; and that, 
from some trifling disagreement with her father, 
she put herself under the protection of Jupiter, 
who adopted her as his daughter.' 

Scylax, as quoted by Major Rennell, says, * In 
this Syrtis (the lesser one) is the island and river 
of Triton, and the temple of Minerva Tritonia. 
The mouth or opening of the lake is small ; and in 
it, on the reflux of the sea, is seen an island. 
When the island is covered, that is, when the tide 
is up, ships may enter the lake. The lake is 
large, being about lOOO stadia in circumference; 
it is surrounded by Libyan nations, and has cities 
on its western border, and also fertile and pro- 
ductive lauds.' Scylax calls the whole gulf of 
liabes, the great lake of Tritonis ; in which the 
lesser Syrtis, called likewise Cercinnitica, is also 
included' as a part of it. Hence it would appear, 
that in the times of Scylax and Herodotus it was 
the custom to call the whole Syrtis and lake, 
collectively, the lake or gulf of Tritonis: although 
in the times of Strabo, Pliny, Polybius, and 
Ptolemy, the word Syrtis was applied separately 
to the bay or gulf; Tritonis to the lake. ' We 
must, therefore,' says Major Rennell, ' regard the 
lake Tritonis of Herodotus as the lesser Syrtis 
and lake of Lowdeah united ; and must conclude 
that he either knew, or took for granted, that 
the dangerous gulf, into which Jason's ship was 
driven, together with the water which received 
the river Triton, and also contained the island 
of the same name, were one and the same.' Dr. 


Siiaw was clearly of opinion, that the lake Low- 
deah was the Tritonis ; but seems to have had no 
suspicion of its having ever communicated with 
the outer gulf. If we may suppose an ancient 
communication, now closed up by sand gradually 
thrown up by the surge of the sea, we may na- 
turally suppose that a great part of the lake itself 
has been filled up by the same operation. The 
lake itself is, at present, as salt as the sea ; which 
may arise, either from the sea-water oozing 
through the sand, or from the salt rivulets which 
flow into it, from a soil strongly impregnated 
with that mineral ; or even from the salt, washed 
down by dews, and occasional showers, from the 
neighbouring mountains of Had-deffa. Major 
Rennell supposes the rivulet of El Hammah to 
have been the river Tritonis. At present this 
rivulet, composed of several hot springs, which 
furnish a number of baths, (whence its name El 
Hammah) runs several miles towards the lake, and 
there loses itself in the sand. 

Pliny says, lib. v. c. 4 : ' Near to them (the 
Philaenian altars) the great lake, denominated 
from the river Triton, receives into it that river. 
But Callimachus calls it Pallantias, and places it 
on this side the lesser Syrtis, thougli many place it 
between both.' 

From the Africims on the borders of this lake, 
(says Herodotus) the Greeks borrowed the vest, 
and tlie oegis, with which they decorated the 
shrine of Minerva : the vests, however, of the 
African Minervas are made of skin, and the fringe 
hanging from the aegis is not composed of serpents, 
but leather. In every other respect the dress is 


the same. It appears by tlie very name, that the 
robe of the statues of Minerva was borrowed 
fioin Afiica. The women of this country wear 
below their garments goat skins without the hair, 
fringed and stained of a red colour : from which 
part of dress the word cegis of the Greeks is 
unquestionably derived. (Melp. c. 189.) We find, 
ia conformity with this description of Herodotus, 
our poet, in the preceding passage, has dressed 
the Heroines or Libyan nymphs; Dyed goat- 
^skins were anciently in much request, and formed 
a considerable article of commerce. In allusion 
to this custom, Isaiah has, * Who is this that 
cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from 
Bosrah ?' 

2274. As swarming ants.] Virgil has imitated 
this simile, iEneid, lib. iv. ver. 402. 

2286. Evn absent, godlike chief.'] Thei*e is some- 
thing very interesting and pleasing here in the art 
of the poet, who thus brings back Hercules to the 
view of the reader, and makes him, even in his ab- 
sence, contribute to tlie success of the Argo- 
nautic expedition, by his proving the means of 
preserving the band of his friends from perishing 
of thirst. 

2304. And JifthUnth them.] The four first heroes 
were eminently fitted for the task they undertook, 
by their qualifications and endowments, as the 
reader will see by resorting to the description of 
their characters in the catalogue of the Argo- 
nauts, book i. As to Canthus, the poet says be 
was impelle/1 by fate; because he had already 
mentioned, in his first book, that he was ordained 
to perish immature. There is something very 


interesting in the spirit and fiieudship of Canthtis, 
wlio thus resolved to proceed with intrepidity, and 
dcraand of Hercules, formidable as he was, an 
account of his friend. 

2314. 3Itisia's soil.'] Polyphemus, being left be- 
hind in jVIysia, founded the city of Cius, which 
look its name from the river which flowed round 
it. He fell in battle with the Chalybes, as Nym- 
phodorus relates. His having founded Cius is 
mentioned by Charis in the tirst book of his chro- 
nology. Cius is now a village, called Gheralek by 
the Turks. 

'23^29. Through gray beginnings.] This simile is 
imitated by Virgil, ^Eneid, lib. vi. ver. 433. Lyn- 
ceus, it appears, though he could see Hercules, 
yet perceived, at the same time, that it would be 
but labour in vain to attempt to follow him ; he 
V. as so distant. The endowment of Lynceus seems 
to have resembled very much the second sight 
of the Scotch. 

2351. Lycorcan.] This lias the same import as 
Delphic. For the people of Delphis were anciently 
called Lycoreans, from a certain village named 
Lycorea. This epithet is recognized by Caliima- 
chus, in his hymn to Apollo, AvKiJ^toj; ivlix !?)oi/3i^, 
ver. 119. And in the Orphic hymn to Apollo, 
AuJtw^Ey (JJoi/Se. See the learned annotations of 
Spanhemius, on the passage of CaUimachus now 

. 2353. Acacallis.] Alexander, in the first book 
of his Cretics, says, that both Hermes and Apollo 
had an intercourse with Acacallis. To tlie latter 
she bore a son, called Naxus, who communicated- 
hj» name to one of the Greek islands ; to Hermes, 


a son named Cydon, fioni whom the city of 
Cydonia in Crete took its name. — Gr. Scho. 

2358. Amfhithemis.'] The meaning of the poet 
is, that he was called by both names. It seems 
to be doubtful whether the Garamantes, a Libyan 
tribe, were called after this son of Phcebus, or he 
obtained the name of Garamas from the people in 
question, — Gr. Scho, 

^060. Nasam<m.] This was the name of a 
Libyan tribe, not far from the lake Tritonis. — 
Lucan, lib. ix. speaks of this people : 

Quas Nasamon, gens dura coUt, qnl prox'ana ];o}ito. 

2363. Caphareiis.'] Much dependence should not 
be placed on the similitude of names ; but one can- 
rot forbear remarking a very striking one with 
respect to this name of Caphareus. There is, at 
this day, in the southern part of Africa, a country 
cal ed Caiiraria; and a nation, who are called 
Catfres, or Cofires. Such a coincidence of names 
in the same continent, though, certainly, in very 
distant regions, is somewhat extraordinary. 

^^39^;. Perseus] Hence, the passages of Ovid, 
Metam, lib. iv. ver. 615. and Milton, P. Lost, book 
X. ver. 526. 

2394. Gorgon— falchion.'} Polydecte?, king of 
Seriphos, feaiing the resentment of Perseus, 
planned a scheme for his destruction ; and having 
invited the neighbouring princes to an entertain- 
ment, where an introductory present was required 
from each guest, he required a horse from each of 
the otlier guests, but Perseus was required to 
bring the head of Medusa, one of the Gorgons. 
The day after the banquet, the guests brought 


horses; and Perseus brought one, like the rest; 
but Polydectes refused to receive the horse of 
Perseus, and insisted on his producing the head of 
Medusa ; and threatened, if he should fail to do 
so, to make his mother answerable. Perseus de- 
parted iu affliction, lamenting his fate, to the 
extremity of the island. Here Hermes appeared 
to him, and having learned the cause of his lamen- 
tation, encouraged him; and, by the counsel of 
Minerva, conducted him to the old women, the 
daughters of Phorcus, Pemphredo, or Pephredo, 
Ento, and Jaino. These three sisters had but one 
eye and one tooth among them, which they used 
alteraately. Perseus contrived to carry away the 
precious eye and tooth. He confessed to the 
listers that he had them in his possession, but 
refused to restore them, unless the old wcmeu 
would point out to him the nymphs who kept the 
helmet of Orcus, which had ilie power of render- 
ing the wearer invisible, the winged sandals, and 
the scrip. They agreed to point them out, on 
condition of regaining their eye and tooth. Per- 
seus, proceeding to the nymphs, obtained what he 
sought, by the intercession of Hermes. He binds 
the sandals under his feet, and suspends the scrip 
over his shoulders. In tliis manner he flies over 
the ocean, accompanied by Hermes and Pallas ; 
and, finding the Gorgons sleeping, his divine com- 
panions instruct him how he might cut off the 
head he sought, with his face averted. They 
showed him in a mirror iMedusa, who alone of the 
Gorgons was mortal. He having approached her 
cut off her, head without looking at her, with a, 
curved falchion given him by Mercuiy, and depo* 


sited it ill his scrip. After which he fled away 
with all speed. The Gorgons, perceiving what 
was done, pursued him; but wei'e unable to dis- 
cover Perseus, on account of the helmet of Orcus. 
Perseus, on his reaching Seriphos, repairs to Poly- 
dectes ; and desires him to assemble tlie people, 
that he may show them the head of Gorgon, well 
knowing that all who behold it must be turned to 
stone. Polydectes, having collected his people, 
desires Perseus to show the fatal head. He, with 
face averted, takes it from the scrip ; and all the 
beholders become stone. Minerva, having received 
the head of Medea from Perseus, placed it in her 
aegis ; bestowed the scrip and winged sandals on 
Mercury ; and returned the helmet of Orcus to 
the Nymphs. Such is the tale related by Phere- 
cydes in his second book. Others say, that 
Perseus, having cut off the head of Medusa, flew 
over Libya, where wild beasts, serpents, and other 
monsters sprung up from the blood that dropped 
from the head : on which account, Libya abounds 
in those dreadful creatures. — Gr. Sch.— See Apol- 
lodorus, lib. ii. c. 14. — Hesiod, Theog. ver. 270. — 
Hygin. in prefatione. — Lucan, Pharsalia, lib. ix. 
ver. 696, gives an account of the various serpents 
with which the soil abounded. And see Milton, 
Par. Lost,, book x. ver. 521. See also Herodotus, 
(Melp. 191.) who says, that on the west of the 
river Triton, the country is infested with wild 
beasts, and abounds in serpents of enormous size. 
2421. The subtle poison,] Lucan, lib. ix. ver. 
770, has described the appearances in the body of 
a soldier dying of the poison of a serpent, with 
great variety of circumstances, and strength of 


£'i24. Brazen, Sfc] Anciently, from the scarcity 
of iron, not only .arms and warlike engines, but 
instruments of husbandry, were made of brass. 
We find that this was formerly the case in Ireland ; 
where spear-heads and other weapons of brass, 
•some of them of great size, have frequently been 
found in the earth. 

2427. Heap the' incumbent clay.'] The practice 
of raising barrows, or sepulchral mounds, over the 
dead was not peculiar to the Celtic tribes, but 
was almost universal in the earlier ages. Homer 
mentions it as usual among the Greeks and Trojans. 
And it appears, by tlie relations of Chandler, and 
other traveller* who have visited the Troade, that 
the barrows of many of the heroes who fell on 
both sides, during the Trojan war, remain at this 
day. Xenophon says, that the same custom pre- 
vailed among the Persians. It also obtained among 
the ancient Germans; and we know, from the vast 
number of barrows of the most remote antiquity 
which are every where to be seen in Ireland, that 
the use of them was general throughout that island. 
2428. The mourning ivarriors, ^c] The origin 
of funeral games is not known. Pliny says they 
existed before the time of Theseus. Homer, 
whose poems are a treasure of ancient learning, 
in describing the obseqtiies of Patroclus, has enu- 
merated all the usual funeral ceremonials. — II. 
xxiii. Electra, in the play of Sophocles which 
bears her name, alludes to this custom, which pre- 
vailed among the relations and friends of the 
deceased, of cutting their hair, and placing it, as 
an offering, on the tomb of the defunct. Briseis, 
in Homer, cuts off her hair, and consigns it, as an 


oblation to the memory of Patrocliis. When tlic 
hair was thus cut off, in honour of the dead, it w«s 
done, in a circular form, something hke a monkisli 
tonsure. Ovid takes notice of this custom : Scissa' 
cum veste capillos. — Virgil mentions funeral rites 
similar to those described by our poet, in his 
eleventh iEneid, ver. 188. The widow of General 
Le Cierc is said to have revived this ancient prac- 
tice, by cutting off her hair, and placing it on the 
dead body of her husband. 

24;j4. Triton.] The ancients really believed in 
the existence of Tritons. See the story in Hero- 
dotus, which reflects some light on this passage. 
The historian makes tiie interview of Jason with 
Triton anterior to the arrival of the hero in Col- 
chis. Pindar, in his fourth Pythian ode, addressed 
to Arcesilaus of Cyrene, in which he lias given a 
complete history of the Argonautic enterprise, 
introduces Triton, as appearing in a human form. 

'2456. A verdant sod.] This sod was offered to 
the Argonauts by the deity, in token of his devotion 
to their service. Eavth was one of the symbols 
given by the ancients, and also by the moderns, 
under the feudal law, in token of fealty and 
allegiance. Thus, we find Cyrus sending to the 
Scythians to demand earth and water as an acknow- 
ledgment of their submission to his dominion : and 
the ambassadors of Xerxes made a similar demand 
of tiie Athenians. 

2472- Eurypylus,'} He was king of Cyrene, and 
son of Neptune, and Cela^no, the daughter of Atlas. 
Piiylarcijus,in his seventh book, calls him Eurytus, 
and says that his brotiier was named Lycaon. 
Acesauder, in his first book concerning Cyrene, 


llie daugljter of Hypseus, says, that after him 
(Euiypylus) Cvrene, the daughter of Hypseus, 
reigned over Libya. This Eurypyhis is mentioned 
by CaUimachiis, Bouii o-iviv Ev^vjrvXoio. — Gr. Scho. 
And see Pindar, Pyth. iv. 

2474. Euphemiis.] Euphcrans is made the first 
to receive tlie sod from the hand of Eiirypylus, 
because he ^vas of the same blood ; being himself 
the son of Neptune, and Enropa, the daughter of 
Tityus.— See Pindar, Pyth. iv.— Gr. Sclio. 

2476. fVhere Apis.] The text has Atthis, but 
the Greek scholiast approves of Apis, as the better 
reading Apis, it seems, is the name of tiie island 
■which lay near Crete, or in the sea of Minos, 
Mivi;tov vsXay^. A name derived from the 
famous sovereign and lawgiver of Crete, Avho 
obtained the sovereignty over tliis sea and all the 
adjacent isles. After this the sea in question bore 
the name of Cretan sea. Thus Horace has, In 
mure Cieticiun. After this, it was called the 
Eg\pti?n sea. 

2493. Near a deep outlet.] It seems that the 
outlet here mentioned was the communication of 
the lake Tritonis with the lesser Syrtis, or s:ulf of 
Kabes : mentioned in the extract of Major Rennell, 
given in a precediuir note. It appears, that it was 
difficult to find this comniunicatiou among the 

250G. Till boldly sivelling:] He advises them to 
keep the shore in view, until they should make a 
certain cape or promontory, from whence they 
might take a departuie, and stand over to Crete. 
This was consonant to the tin-id practice of ancient 
navigators. The cape or headland here meant i* 
the promontory of Phycus, now cape Kasato. 


2550. A tail enormous.] The word in the ori- 
ginal, aX-Konn, properly fignifies tlie tail of a lion; 
and is derived from aXKn, robur, from the force 
with which he lashes his sides. Callimachus 
improperly applies it to the tails of flies. — (See 
Gr. Scho.) The simile of. the lunar crescent, to 
express both the form and brightness of the vast 
fins in which the tail of the Triton ended, is veiy 

2560. Argos name.'] The port of Argous, near 
the lake of Triton and lesser Syrtis. Notwith- 
standing the dreadful accounts given by the 
ancients of the Syrtes, there were ports in them, 
and they were not unfrequented by marmers. — 
See Rennell. 

2572. Southern blasts.] The Argonauts were 
glad of the ceasing of the west, and the rising of 
the .south-west wind : because, as Libya lay to the 
south-west of Greece, the latter wind was favour- 
able to their course homeward. The worst wind 
which could have blown for them would have 
been the north ; which, indeed, is peculiarly dan- 
gerous in the neighbourhood of the Syrtes. — See 
the preceding extract from Major Rennell. 

2574. Hesper.] Hesper is called, in the original, 
"Aj-ji^ auXt©^, or the ' bedward star,* from uvXk- 
^£(7^ai, to retire to lodgings, or resting places. 
The natural effect of the close of day. — Gr. Scho. 

2584. Carpathus.] This island is one of the 
Sporades, and lies near Cos. — It is mentioned by 
Homer, who says, Ka^TraSov te Kaaov koci Kuv. 
It is called, at this day, Scarpanto. 

2588. Brazen Talus.] Hcec verba felkissime 
transtulit, Val. Flac. lib. x.— -* Valerius Flaccus 


has most happily translated this passage in his 
tenth hook.' Such is the note of the Oxford 
editor. The lines quoted by him are these : 

Jt'erreus arce procul scopuli Dycteide terra. 
Has prohibet satio ore Talos siispendere funes, 
Et legere hospitium, SjC. 

It is truly surprising that the Oxford editor, Mr. 
Shaw, should speak of the Latin passage here 
mentioned, as proceeding from Valerius Flaccus, 
or have quoted a tenth book of that poet : since 
it is a matter of notoriety, that Valerius Flaccus 
did not produce any tenth book. Had Mr. Shaw 
taken the trouble of only consulting the preface 
to Bumran's edition of Val. Flaccus, he would 
there have seen, that the Latin poet left his Argo- 
nautics imperfect; and that his work was continued, 
chiefly from ApoUonius Rhodius, by a modern 
Italian poet, Pius Bononiensis, who also edited 
the Argonautics of Valerius Flaccus. The con- 
tinuation first appeared in that edition, which is 
now become rare ; and has since been adopted in 
other editions of V. Flaccus. Plato, in his dia- 
logue on law^, entitled Minos, explains the fable of 
Talos. He says, that Rhadamanthus and Talos 
Avere the assistants of Minos in administering 
justice : tliat Rhadamanthus presided over the 
capital, Talos over the rest of Crete. The latter 
used, thrice in a year, to take a circuit through 
the villages and districts of the island, to see if 
the laws were duly observed ; which laws he 
carried about with him, inscribed on tablets of 
brass; from hence he obtained the name of * brazen.* 
It is conjectured, that llie «tory of the bursting of 


the vein above the ankle of Talcs, by which he 
died, arose from a mode of punishing criminals 
practised by him, which w as the opening of a vein 
above the ankle, whereby they bled to death. 
Eustathiiis (not. Odyss. ver. 3')2,) says, that Talos 
was made by Vulcan, and presented to Mino^, 
that he might guard Crete and Eurcpa. — His 
mode of punisliing those who invaded his precincts 
was to leap into the fire, and, when he was 
throughly heated, to clasp the offender in iiis arms. 
Hence carae the expression of a Sardonian laugh. 
Suidas, on the phrase, * Sardonic laugh,' ascribes 
this stoi-y to Simonides. Talos, it seems, by the 
context, before his arrival in Crete, had resided in 
Sardinia ; whence he seems to have brought colo- 
nists to Minos. See Bacon on the Wisdom of the 
Ancients, for the allegorical sense of their ftibles. 
2640. In rage she grew.] See Virgil, iEneid, lib. 
vii. ver. 445. See also the description of Erichtho 
in Lucan. 

2698. Melanti an rocks. 1 The MeJantii were two 
rocks so called from one Melas, who possessed the 
adjacent region. They were near the island of 
Thera, of which more in a subsequent note. 

2703. Sporades.] These were certain islands of 
the Archipelago, about twelve in number ; some 
of them inhabited, others not. They had the 
name of Sporades, from their being scattered here 
and there; or, as if sown in tiie deep, from crCT-ti^a), 
semino. The little island, to which Aoollonius 
alludes, was near Thera, niw Santorin, and took 
its name of Anaphe, fioni ava^atvw, ' to reveal.' 

2706. Hippiiris.] V/as an island, which also lay 
near Thera. The commentaries of Spanhemius 


ou Callimachus — Hyom to Delos, deserve to be 
consulted, for an illustration of this passage. See 
also the travels of Olivier, vol. ii. and the con- 
cluding note. 

'2726. Loud bursts of laughter.l This passage is 
highly natural and characteristic. The light and 
thoughtless disposition of these young girls, easily 
moved to laughter, and made to forget the dangers 
and difficulties of their situation by trivial circum- 
stances, is well imagined and described. 

27S9. Mirthful sallies.] Callimachus, who per- 
haps, through the influence of his Egyptian origia 
and education, is passionately fond of introducing 
the epithets of deities, and the details of religious 
rites and ceremonies, says, in allusion to this 
custom, in his Hymn to Delos, ver. 324 : 

K8{»^ovT« xai 'AwoXXtovi yeXafOv. 

It is observed by Spanhemius on this passage, that 
among the ancients, many of their sacrifices were 
performed not only with festivity, but even with 
laughter, mutual taunts, and a sort of licensed 
ribaldry and grossness. Such were the Saturnalia 
among the Romans ; sucli the rites of Apollo in 
Delos, mentioned by Callimachus in his Hymn 
to that island ; such were the rites of Apollo 
iEgletes in Achaia, mentioned by Pausanias : 'Ai 
yuvaiXEj TE £j avra? KCci a.\x /xs^^ tj raj yvv%iv.i^ 
0* ccv^^ii; yiXvrt te e? otXXnXag xf'-^^'^^-'^ ^^^ c-Kuy.- 
ljM<7iv. The same license of jesting prevailed in 
other sacrifices of Ceres, the Thesmophoria, as 
may be seen in ApoUodorus, lib. i. c. 6. And in 
Callimachus, Hymn to Ceres, ver. 18. 

2743. Vows to Maid's son.^ Euphemus is here 



said to have prayed to Mercury, because he \ta^ 
the god who presided over dreams. — Gr. Scho. 

'2746. That sod.] Euphemus, it seems, from the 
time he had received the sod from Triton, had 
preserved it in his bosom, as a charm or pledge of 
good fortime. 

2750. A beauteous maid.] There is something in 
this passage of Apollonius very hke that in the 
Paradise Lost of Milton, where Adam, in a vision, 
sees the Creator forming Eve : 

Under his forming hand a creature grew. 

JI761. Nurse of thy progeny.'} Euphemus inha* 
bited the territory of Laconia, near the sea-shore. 
But Sesamus, one of his descendants, emigrated 
and colonized Thera. From him descended Aris- 
totle, who led a colony to Cyrene, as Pindar 
relates in his Pythian Odes ; and as is more parti- 
cularly mentioned by Theochrestus, in the first 
book of his Cyrene. They mention, that Thera 
rose, and grew in the sea, from the sod which was 
cast into it. Pindar says, it was melted and mixed 
with the waves, near the island now called Thera, 
through the carelessness of the attendants. Apol- 
lonius states, that the sod was cast into the sea 
designedly, w ith the concurrence of Jason.— Gr. 

2786. Lemnos held.] Some of the Argonauts, 
on their return, settled at Lemnos. — Being after- 
wards expelled by the Pelasgians, who came from 
the coasts of Italy, they repaired to Sparta ; where 
they were received. — See subsequent note. 

2790. Therasfrom Autesion.'] Tberas was of the 
race of CEdipus, being the son of Antesion, the 
son of Thersauder, the son ofPoIyaices. — Gr. Scho. 


5792. Thera.] Olivier, an elegant French tra- 
veller, says, (in his second volume, p. 234) nothing 
can be more frightftil than the violent convulsion 
which has taken place all along the coast of Thera, 
Therasia, and Aspronisi. Nothing more astonish- 
ing than the formation of the roadstead, and of the 
three islands, which have issued from the bottom 
of the sea at known periods. The coast of San- 
torin, nearly a hundred toises in elevation in some 
places, presents itself like a perpendicular moun- 
tain, formed of various strata, and of different 
banks of volcanic substances. 

Santorin, according to Pliny, received the name 
of Calista, or ' handsome island,' after having 
issued from the bosom of the waters ; it after- 
wards bore that of Thera, from the name of one 
of its kings : the name which it bears at present 
is formed of that of St. Irene, to whom the island 
was dedicated under the emperors of the east. 
It is not to be doubted, that if we consider what 
Santorin must have been at its second period, 
because it is still so at this day, it must have been 
one of the finest and most fertile islands of the 
Arcliipelago. Its circular form, a soil entirely 
susceptible of culture, whifh rose by degrees from 
the borders of the sea, in form of a calotte flat- 
tened at the top, Mounts St. Stephen and Elias, 
situated at one of the extremities, covered perhaps 
with verdure and wood : every thing concurred 
to render Santorin, if not a very beautiful island, 
at least one of the most agreeable of the Archi- 

In the Annals of the World, by Brietius, we 
find, that thirty years before the Ionic emigration, 
Thera^, son of Autesion, and nephew of Polynices, 


caused a colony of Minyae to be conveyed to 
Calista, in order to augment the number of the 
inhabitants. The Minyae were descendants of the 
Argonauts, who had followed Jason into Colchis ; 
and who, on their return, had stopped at Lemnos, 
and had there established themselves. The de- 
scendants of those heroes, driven some time after 
from Lemnos by the Pelasgi, took refuge in 
Sparta, where they were kindly received. Lands 
were given to them, and they were married to 
girls of the country. But as these strangers, ever 
restless and ambitious, were in the sequel con- 
victed of endeavours to seize on the sovereign 
authority, they were apprehended and condenmed 
to death. Love inspired one of their women with 
a trick, which succeeded. Having obtained per- 
mission to see their husbands previous to the 
execution of the sentence, they changed clothes 
with them ; by means of which disguise the husbands 
escaped in the dark, and fled to Mount Taygetus ; 
then it was that Theras demanded, obtained, and 
conducted them to Calista, which from that time 
was called Thera. — (See Herodotus.) Santorin, 
in proportion to its extent, is the ricliest and 
most populous of all the islands of the Archipelago. 
This intelligent traveller says : 'After having visited, 
with the greatest attention, Thera, Therasia, and 
Aspronisi, and convinced ourselves that these three 
islands, at a remote epoch, must have formed but 
one, and that there has taken place a sudden and 
violent depression, which has divided them, it 
remained for us to see, whether the three islands 
of the road presented an organization different 
from the other three. We employed a whole day 
in this examination, and had reason to be satisfied, 


that even bad not history told us any thing on the 
subject, these islands carry with them the stamp 
of the period of their formation.' It appears, that 
all these islands were of volcanic origin. Brietius 
says, ' Tiiat in the year 47, there arose on a 
sudden, from the bottom of the sea, near Thera, 
a small island, which had not before been seen.' — 
Briet. Ann. Mund. torn. ii. p. 63. Justin says, 
(lib. iii. c. 4.) ' That there was seen to issue,, 
after an earthquake, an island, between Thera and 
Therasia, which was called sacred, and was dedi- 
cated to Pluto.' (This was in the year 196 before 

Dion Cassias mentions the sudden appearance 
of a small island, near that of Thera, during the 
reign of Claudius. Syncellus mentions it to have 
happened in the forty-sixth year after Christ, and 
places it between Thera and Therasia. But it 
appears that some time after there arose another 
island called Thia, which disappeared afterwards, 
or was united to the sacred island. Mention is 
made of it in Pliny, in Theophanes, and in Brie- 
tius. The words of Pliny are : Ei in nostra evo, 
Thiajuxta eandem Hieram nata. Lib. iv. c. 12. 

Nothing remarkable happened afterwards, til! 
1427, when a fresh explosion produced another 
great and very distinguishable increase to the 
bland of Hiera : mention of which is made in 
some Latin verses, engraved on a marble at 
Scarva, near the temple of the Jesuits. In lo73 
was formed, after a fresh explosion which lasted 
for some time, the little Kammenie; such as we 
see it at the present day. Father Richard, a 
Jesuit, says, that in his time there were several 
old men in Santoriu, who had seen tliat island 


formed in the middle of the sea ; and that they 
had, on that account, named it Micra Caimene, 
' little burnt island.' 

When Tournefort visited Santorin, at the begin- 
ning of the last century, the new Kanimenie was 
not yet in existence : it was not till some years 
after, from 1707 to 1711, that it issued by degrees 
from the bottom of the sea, after various earth- 
quakes. Every increase that the island received 
was announced by a dreadful noise, and followed 
by a white smoke, thick and infectious. The 
whole was terminated by a shower of fragments 
of basaltes, pumice-stones, and ashes, which wTre 
spread to a great distance. The details of this 
memorable event are reported at length, either in 
the journals of the times, or in a Latin pamphlet 
made on the spot by a Jesuit. 

If the reader reflects on the changes which 
Santorin has experienced, through the effects of a 
volcano, which acts on it from a very remote 
period, he will remark in them four principal eras, 
distinct from each other. At the first, the island 
was united to Mounts St. Stephen and Elias, as 
far as the environs of Pergos and Messaria; the 
only places which were not volcanized. The 
second was, the formation of the rest of the island, 
as far as Therasia and Aspronisi. The roadstead 
did not then exist, and the island was as large 
again, of a rounded or oblong form. The ground 
rose in the form of a calotte, more or less irregidar 
at its summit, commanded at one of the extre- 
mities by P.Iounts St. Stephen and Elias. The 
third period was, the sudden and extraordinary 
depression which took place in the middle of the 
i:9land, whence has resulted the roadstead. The 


fourlli antl last period, is the formation of three 
islands, v.hich have successively issued from the 
bottom of the sea. Perhaps, there will one day 
be formed others ; perhaps, all these islands will 
be united to each other, and all the space which 
tlie roadstead occupies will be filled up. It is 
impossible to foresee all the changes which may 
take place, as long as the volcano which exists at 
Santorin shall remain in activity. The reader will 
see a curious article, called * Account of the sub- 
maiine Volcanoes of Santorin and the Azores;' 
extracted from Dallas's translation of the Natural 
History of Volcanoes, in Dodsley's Annual Register 
for 1801. 

2822. Aulis.] This was a city of Boeotia, lying 
opposite to Eubcea. It was here the Grecian 
armament, under Agamemnon, lay wind-bound. 

2823. Locrian cities.'] The cities of the Locri 
Opuntii. The Opuntii had their names from 
Opus, the son of Jupiter and Protogenia. — Opus 
was also the name of a river of Locris. It appears, 
that the Argo passed through the Euripus, between 
Euboea and the main land. 

2824. Pui'asce.'] A bay and harbour of Thessaly, 
whence the Argonauts sailed, and to which they 


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